Death Rays Into Plowshares
The Strategic Defense Initiative may never shoot down an intercontinental ballistic missile, but the laser technology it developed at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif., is about to be put to work performing eye surgery. The San Francisco-based Phoenix Laser Systems Inc., founded by physicists Alfred Sklar, Allen Frank, and other members of Livermore's Theoretical Physics Group in 1987, has developed a low-energy neodymium YAG laser to perform corneal laser sculpting. They expect the procedure will be able to treat a number of vision disorders, including glaucoma, and eventually make it possible for near- and far-sighted people to see without eyeglasses. Last month the company, which had its initial public offering in August 1989, unveiled its first integrated ophthalmic surgical workstation. The workstation involves a highly accurate tracking and targeting system first developed to track missile and explosion ejecta. Phoenix says the laser, directed...

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