Lasik Surgery’s Newest Advancements — Will it Save Your Vision?

Experiences with Lasik Surgery have varied from gaining better than 20/20 vision to complete disasters. You can’t just run down to the corner clinic and hope that you’re going to get your eyes fixed. You need to find a true expert, and you need to make sure they’re using the most up-to-date equipment and techniques.

Captain Steven Schallhorn, M.D., USN, Ret of Top Gun Vision tells us exactly what we can do to keep our vision in top health for longer than ever before possible.

He offers his refractive surgery skills and expertise to the residents of and visitors to San Diego. Dr. Schallhorn was the ophthalmologist selected to evaluate the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO, the highest ranking Naval Officer), Surgeon General of the Navy (highest ranking Navy doctor), Admirals, Naval Aviators, SEALs, Sailors, and Marines. The devotion and care he exhibits in the correction of vision for our nation’s highest asset military personnel will be applied to each and every refractive surgery case he performs in the civilian sector. He was the Director of Refractive Surgery for the U.S. Navy. He founded and directs the refractive surgery center at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, Calif. He is a principal investigator for the U.S. Navy on the safety and efficacy of photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) and LASIK. Many of his clinical studies have focused on laser vision correction and night vision.

What You Need to Know About Wavefront Refractive Surgery

The STAR S4 IR™ Excimer Laser System is designed to bring CustomVue® individualized laser vision correction to life and provide the flexibility to treat patients with the broadest range of FDA approvals to date.

Technologies like Active Trak® 3-D eye tracking, automatic centering, Variable Spot Scanning (VSS™), Variable Repetition Rate (VRR™), and Iris Registration add to the laser’s already remarkable precision.

The WaveScan WaveFront® System sets the industry standard for outstanding wavefront acquisition and diagnostic utility. fast and powerful, it delivers the unprecedented levels and measurement accuracy essential to the CustomVue™ procedure – and to optimized outcomes.

The WaveScan WaveFront® System provides fast and efficient capture of the patient’s wavefront data through the use of precise Hartmann-Shack aberrometry. WaveScan® technology is also designed to provide a host of practice-enhancing capabilities, such as using the Fourier algorithm to precisely reconstruct the wavefront treatment plan, off-line programming, and auto exam selection mode, which maximize patient flow.

CustomVue™ Laser Vision Correction:
FDA approved to treat myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism

You may have heard CustomVue treatments referred to as “custom” or “wavefront” LASIK. This breakthrough treatment establishes a new standard in laser vision correction.

CustomVue treatments use WaveScan™ technology, originally developed to reduce distortions in high-powered telescopes, to measure imperfections in your eye 25 times more precisely than standard methods.

In a clinical study for treatment of low to moderate myopia (nearsightedness), one year after treatment 98 percent of patients receiving CustomVue treatment could see 20/20 or better.

CustomVue treatment can free you from the full-time use of eyeglasses or contact lenses, while offering the potential for better vision than you could achieve with either.

Are you a candidate for the CustomVue procedure? Since CustomVue treatment is approved for myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism, 94 percent* of all laser vision correction candidates are potentially eligible for a CustomVue procedure.

How the CustomVue™ Procedure Works

CustomVue treatments use WaveScan™ technology created by VISX, Incorporated, originally developed to reduce distortions in high-powered telescopes when viewing distant objects in space.

  • WaveScan technology measures imperfections in your eye 25 times more precisely than standard methods for glasses and contact lenses.
  • The WaveScan WaveFront™ System produces a detailed map of your eye. Much like a fingerprint, no two eyes are exactly alike.
  • The digital information is transferred to the STAR S4 IR™ Excimer Laser System, which performs the CustomVue procedure.
  • Your CustomVue treatment is designed to correct the unique imperfections of your eyes.

In addition, the CustomVue procedure uses Iris Registration Technology — the first fully automated method of aligning and registering wavefront corrections for CustomVue treatments. Accurate alignment is essential to optimizing customized wavefront-guided ablations.

Iris Registration Technology:

  • replaces manual methods of treatment alignment.
  • aligns treatment to the cornea and provides greater alignment accuracy.
  • centers the treatment correctly.


Dr. Steven Schallhorn, MD., USN, Ret.

Captain Steven Schallhorn, MD, has helped numerous soldiers over the years with his pioneering work in LASIK and refractive surgery.

His extensive research and surgical skills has allowed many soldiers to have LASIK surgery prior to their deployment to
Iraq and Afghanistan. In these areas, harsh, sandy and windy conditions make contact lenses unfeasible and the danger of
lost or damaged glasses a serious safety hazard for both the soldier and their entire unit.

In the last few weeks, Dr. Schallhorn has begun performing LASIK surgery on naval aviators. This is the first time the US
Navy has allowed vision correction surgery to be performed on naval aviators, due in part to Schallhorn’s extensive studies.Previously, navy aviators have been ineligible to have LASIK

Captain Schallhorn is also one of the legendary Top Gun FighterPilots and instructors from the Miramar Naval Air Station. As a Naval Aviator, Schallhorn earned the highest grade ever recorded on a training squadron. He is qualified as an F-14A, A-4, and F-5 aircraft test pilot with more than 2,000 flight hours.

While an instructor at Miramar, Captain Schallhorn was interviewed extensively as a basis for the movie Top Gun. While
the movie was a fictional portrayal of Naval Aviation, many of the events in the movie were based on the captain’s personal experiences.

Medical Background

Dr Schallhorn graduated from the University of Uniformed Services (USU) School of Health Sciences with a degree in medicine in 1988, completed his internship in 1989, served as a general medical officer in 1990, completed his residency program in 1993, and certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology in 1995.

Captain Steve Schallhorn served as the Director of Cornea Service and Refractive Surgery at Naval Medical Center San Diego (“Balboa Hospital”) and the Refractive Surgery Program Manager for the United States Navy. He conceived of and initiated the first refractive surgery programs for the US armed forces to study the visual recovery and
performance characteristics of PRK and LASIK before excimer lasers were FDA approved. He is a member of the AMA, American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ASCRS), American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO), and fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). He is a scientific reviewer for the ophthalmology peer review journals Ophthalmology, Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, and Journal of Refractive Surgery.

Dr Schallhorn serves his profession as chairman of AAO Refractive Ophthalmic Technology Assessment committee and the AAO Refractive Surgery knowledge base committee, executive steering committee member of the AAO Refractive Surgery Interest Group, contributor to the AAO basic science curriculum in Refractive Surgery, and Executive Committee member of the International Society of Refractive Surgery (ISRS).

As an acknowledged by his peers as an expert in refractive surgery, Dr Schalhorn receives numerous requests to conduct nationwide training courses, and routinely provides consultation regarding refractive surgery to various organizations, including his role as: Author of 16 peer-reviewed papers and 3 book chapters Visiting professor of medicine at Harvard, USC, UCSF, Baylor, and others.

Consultant to NASA, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Advisor for refractive surgery to Australia, Canada, France, Great Britain, Greece, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, Turkey, and the US Air Force, Army, and Coast Guard ASCRS representative to the annual meetings in Russia and Singapore AAO representative to the annual meeting in the Philippines.

Dr Schallhorn is the recipient of numerous military and academic awards and honors, including:

  • Selection for Alpha Omega Alpha medical honors society
  • Honors medical school graduate (ranked in the top 5% of his class)
  • Designated “Fellow of the Year” at Doheny Eye Institute (1995/96) during the period of his 2-year fellowship training in Cornea and External Disease.
  • The Joint Chiefs of Staff Award for Excellence in Military Medicine (1997) presented by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (General John M. Shalikashvili) and American patriot Zachary Fisher – the award included a $50,000 research grant.
  • The Navy Legion of Merit, the highest non-combat medal in the military, awarded for performance of meritorious service to the United States for his work in refractive surgery
  • Distinguished Lans Refractive Surgery Award (2004) by the International Society of Refractive Surgery (ISRS), a 3,500-member worldwide medical research organization comprised of leading eye care experts in vision correction surgery.
  • Selected by his peers to be included as one of the Best Doctors in America 2005-
  • 2006.
  • Voted one of the “TOP 50 Opinion Leaders” for Outstanding Contribution and
  • Leadership in the Fields of Cataract and Refractive Surgery in 2006.
  • Selected to give the prestigious keynote address, the Binkhorst Lecture, at the 2007 annual meeting of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons.

Naval Background

Before entering medical school, Dr Schallhorn had a successful career as a Naval Aviator and TOPGUN instructor in the US Navy. During that time he instituted and directed a multi-year project that resulted in enhanced combat survivability of aircrew through the Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory (NAMRL).

1977 – 1978: Flight training

1979 – 1982: F-14 pilot, Fighter Squadron Two (VF-2) served two 10-month deployments in the western Pacific, during the second and while in the Indian Ocean, he was selected to TOPGUN.

1982 – 1984: TOPGUN instructor, Navy Fighter Weapons School

As a fighter pilot, Steve Schallhorn (call sign “Legs”), was: Designated a Naval Aviator with the highest grade recorded in training squadron.

  • Qualified as F-14A, A-4 and F-5 aircraft test pilot with over 2,000 flight hours.
  • Winner of the 1981 annual F-14 fighter derby with the highest grade ever recorded in a scored air-to-air combat exercise.
  • Instrumental in winning the coveted “Mutha” and safety award for Fighter Squadron Two, 1981-1982.
  • Selected as one of the ten best carrier pilots onboard USS Ranger with over 300 arrested landings including over 100 night landings.
  • Selected among hundreds of highly qualified naval officers to serve as combat instructor at the Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN).
  • A top lieutenant in competitive fitness reports at TOPGUN among highly screened peers while serving as training and safety officer.

About AMO

Advanced Medical Optics, Inc. (AMO) (NYSE: EYE) is a global medical device leader focused on the discovery and delivery of innovative vision technologies that optimize the quality of life for people of all ages. The company focuses on developing a broad suite of innovative technologies and devices to address a wide range of eye disorders.

AMO became an independent company in June 2002 following a spin-off from Allergan, Inc. AMO is based in Santa Ana, California, and employs approximately 3,800 people worldwide. The company has operations in 24 countries and markets products in approximately 60 countries.

AMO (originally American Medical Optics) started business in 1976 as a pioneer in the early development of intraocular lenses for cataract patients. We brought the first small-incision foldable intraocular lens through the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory process and began marketing it in 1989. Foldable lenses were a major advance in cataract surgery because they made it possible for surgeons to insert the lens through a small incision. This meant less trauma to the eye and faster visual recovery from cataract surgery, from months to days.

AMO developed the Array® intraocular lens, the first multifocal intraocular lens to be approved for commercial distribution by the U.S. FDA. Multifocal implants provide patients with distance, intermediate, and near vision. Traditional monofocal lenses generally provide good distance vision only.

AMO designed and developed new equipment for removing cataracts. We have an outstanding phacoemulsification system, called the Sovereign® System. The Sovereign® System is equipped with WhiteStar™ software, an advanced technology that uses very low levels of ultrasound power to dissolve the full range of dense cataracts that can develop in the eye. The Sovereign® System won the prestigious Medical Design Excellence Silver Award from the Industrial Designers Society of America in 1999 for “excellence in medical product design engineering.”

AMO entered the refractive surgery market with the Amadeus™ Microkeratome, a device used during LASIK procedures. The Amadeus™ microkeratome produces the corneal flap that protects the eye after the laser procedure.

In 2004, AMO introduced the Verisyse™ phakic IOL for treatment of moderate to severe myopia, the first lens of its kind to receive FDA approval. The company also acquired the Tecnis® and CeeOn® IOLs, the Healon® line of viscoelastics and the Baerveldt® glaucoma device, marking the company’s entrance into the glaucoma market. The Tecnis® IOL is the first IOL with a modified prolate optic to have a claim for improved functional vision.

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