Photo of Gholam Peyman

Gholam Peyman

  • National Medal of Technology and Innovation
  • Medicine

For invention of the LASIK surgical technique, and for developing the field of intraocular drug administration and expanding the field of retinal surgery.

Gholam Peyman on what he has learned from his failures and disappointments in life

Gholam Peyman was born in Shiraz, Iran and after completing high school moved to Germany to pursue medical studies. He received an MD from the University of Freiburg and completed his residency at the University of Essen before joining UCLA as a professor of Ophthalmology.

Peyman’s career is notable for the many advances and innovations he has proposed over its course. Currently, he holds 174 different patents covering the use of medical devices, surgical techniques, and methods of diagnosis and treatment. Most notable are his contributions to LASIK eye surgery, the revolutionary technique that uses excimer lasers for extremely precise surgery on the eye.

Peyman first published an article about performing eye surgery by ablative laser in 1980—at this point it was a speculative proposal as the necessary type of laser had not yet been discovered. But in 1982 he noticed IBM’s publication on an ultra-precise excimer laser and its ability to cut tissue without any cauterizing effect. In 1985 he was able to patent his first surgical method with it. In the years since, he has refined and improved the use of lasers in eye surgery, incorporating implants and other novel techniques to make these surgeries safer for patients. He has continues to make discoveries for treating eye conditions such as cancer and glaucoma and created novel forms of drug delivery. Today, he is one of a handful to be inducted by his peers into the Ophthalmology Hall of Fame.

By Casey Samulski