Explore the science behind LASIK™ surgery with this engaging STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activity.
- Buzzer, bell or squeaky toy
- Two eye image printouts
- Laser pointer or thin-beamed flashlight (be sure to remind all participants to avoid pointing their light toward anyone’s face)
1. Find two other people who might have their eye on starting the New Year with hands-on science fun!
2. Place the two eye images across from each other, with one person in front of each eye and the third person next to the buzzer, bell or squeaky toy.
3. Have each person aim a light and precisely trace the cornea six times by following the red, dotted line along the outer circle of the iris (the colored part of the eye). Do not shine the laser pointer or flashlight in the face of any participant.
4. The third person should hit the buzzer any time either light moves off the dotted line. If the buzzer sounds, the person whose light missed the line must restart from the beginning. The first participant to finish wins!
5. When the race is over, rotate roles.
What are we learning?
It’s 2020 and this number makes many people think about perfect vision! When light that is bent by the cornea, lens and fluid of the eye does not hit the precise point on the retina called the focal point, vision will be blurry and less than 20/20. This is often caused by a cornea and/or lens that is a different shape. Clarity in vision has been achieved for many people through the power of LASIK surgery, made possible by National Inventors Hall of Fame® Inductees James Wynne, Rangaswamy Srinivasan and Samuel Blum. Utilizing a laser technique pioneered by the trio called excimer laser surgery, LASIK surgery uses an excimer laser to slice the cornea, creating a flap. Doctors peel back the flap and use the laser’s ultraviolet light to change the shape of the cornea so that incoming light will hit the ideal part of the retina for clear vision, and then they put the flap back in place. No stitches or bandages are needed!