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Refractive Eye Surgery

  1. Nov 18, 2013 #1
    Hello everyone,

    I am a freshman physics and computer science student thinking about what I want to do after I graduate. I have always been obsessed with the eye and its functions. I would like to get into refractive eye surgery machine building/research, specifically focusing on the laser in areas such as LASIK, PRK and Lightwave surgery.

    I was wondering if an electrical engineering major or a physics major would be more beneficial. I currently am planning on going to graduate school for a PhD but I am wondering what field this would fall under: biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, biomedical optics or maybe even a biology degree?
    Here are some references for what lightwave vision is (it is my main interest). Also here is Dr. Schwiegerling’s website, he is an optical engineer at the University of Arizona, and currently leading the field in lightwave research. Here is something more scholarly on lightwave vision surgery.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 19, 2013 #2


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    Why not send Dr. Schwiegerling an email asking him what he thinks is best way to go about it? I'm not sure anyone here would be able to accurately answer your question.

    Anyway, it sounds interesting. I've had corneal topography done a few times on my eye after an injury. It's pretty amazing what they do.
  4. Nov 19, 2013 #3
    I think it's more important to find a program that does the kind of research you want to do. I wouldn't be surprised if it could occur in any one of those departments. In other words, you'll have a lot better chance securing a job in the field if you acquire experience in the field during your Ph.D. work, regardless of department, particularly if you advisor knows other people in the industry.

    In my field (fusion and plasma physics), people get Ph.Ds in Astrophysics, Physics, Applied Physics, Nuclear Engineering, and a few others. We all do very similar types of work despite the different departments. And if you had one of the above degrees but did research at a non-fusion related program, e.g. Astrophysics studying galaxy evolution or Nuc. Eng. studying fire propagation in power plants, you'd have a pretty difficult time getting time getting a postdoc in fusion related stuff. The department matters far less than the research you do.

    So find people at universities doing that research and make note of those programs. Contact them and find out what is the best undergrad preparation to get into said graduate programs.
  5. Nov 19, 2013 #4
    Thanks for the responses everyone. kinkmode the comparison you made to your field was very helpful. I will start emailing professors and finding out what I should be studying as an undergraduate.
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