Laser eye surgery is possible also thanks to the space race

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Laser eye surgery is possible also thanks to the…

You’re sick and tired of those damn glasses. Putting on and taking off your contact lenses every time you wake up or go to bed is a pain in the neck. So, you’re considering surgery to get rid of the eye problems you’ve had since that eye patch in kindergarten. But all this was not achieved out of the blue: this lifelong solution would not exist without pushes of various origin, including the advances of space industry.

But why did scientists develop this technology? The answer was brought by the desire to gain perfect view, which was also a prerequisite to be an astronaut. To achieve that dream, in addition to an enviable curriculum, you need not suffer from nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. Many refused to let these eye defects put an end to their careers, and that’s when surgery came into play. At the time, laser treatments were not yet trusted. They were considered unsafe, and aerospace engineers feared eye problems would not disappear completely.

However, as the conditions for this kind of surgery improved responding a wide demand, also space agencies and other international organizations gave it their support and helped develop it, making it a common procedure also for astronauts. In about ten minutes, a surgeon pulls up a layer of corneal tissue, the laser does its magic, and the problem is solved. And then, astronauts are fit to fly again.