Dr. José Barraquer, who came from a family that boasts four generations of prominent ophthalmologists, is widely acknowledged to be the father of refractive surgery. He was born in Spain, but moved in 1953 to Bogota, Colombia. There, he founded the Barraquer Institute of America, where he trained many of the refractive surgeons practicing around the world today.
Dr. Barraquer promoted the improvement of suture material and technique in cataract and corneal surgery, and designed numerous surgical instruments, many of which still carry his name. But his life’s work was dedicated to the idea of reshaping the cornea to change the eye’s refractive power. Toward this end, he designed the cryolathe and the microkeratome and developed keratomileusis and keratophakia, laying the groundwork for LASIK and other modern lamellar procedures. Dr. Barraquer continued to practice, invent and teach until his death.