Laser is a catchy scientific acronym that we associate intuitively with precision and sophistication, novelty and ingenuity, power and adaptability. Since its invention more than 50 years ago, it has revolutionized and enabled a long list of technologies, from telecommunication to imaging, from lithography of integrated circuits (the brains behind electronic devices) to rapid DNA sequencing, from missile defense to printing. The first medical application of the laser, which occurred less than a year after its invention, was retinal photocoagulation; since then, its effect on ophthalmology is hard to overestimate. Now, lasers are used in all ophthalmic subspecialties; they are critical for many diagnostic and therapeutic devices.
Palanker DV, Blumenkranz MS, Marmor MF. Fifty Years of Ophthalmic Laser Therapy. Arch Ophthalmol. 2011;129(12):1613-1619. doi:10.1001/archophthalmol.2011.293