RK Surgery | Radial Keratotomy

Michail Gorbachov brought glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) to Russia. What is less well know is that we have him to thank for the speed at which Lasik eye surgery advanced throughout the world.

In 1978 Svyatoslav Fyodorov was working on systems with cuts to the outer surface of the cornea which changed the shape of the eye and he eventually produced a precise formula that increased the predictability of success. This became known as radial keratotomy (RK). Initially the work was done with metal blades and over time these were replaced with highly polished diamond ones.

Fyodorov wanted to open clinics all over the world but with the bureaucracy in Russia at the time it was impossible. Gorbachov was keen to encourage entrepreneurs and swept away the restrictions. Soon Fyodorov had a cruise ship in the Middle East and was supervising and performing thousands of operations. He focused on efficiency and modern business methods too.

He also worked on corneal collagen shields, lens power calculation, thermal keratoplasty, and glaucoma surgery. Just before his death in a helicopter accident in 2001 he was working on a laser cataract extraction technique.

Fyodorov's perfecting of RK sparked a surge of interest in refractive surgery throughout the world that continues unabated. You can read about the next major development in refractive eye surgery at PRK | Excimer Lasers for Photorefractive Keratotomy

He was recognised by The American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery Ophthalmology Hall of Fame in for his accomplishments in the field of ophthalmology.

You can read more about Gorbachov at a Soviet history site by clicking here.

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