James J. Wynne
Born Mar 19 1943
Far Ultraviolet Surgical and Dental Procedures
Patent Number(s) 4,784,135
James Wynne is co-inventor of a process using a short pulse ultraviolet laser to etch tissue in minute increments and in a highly controlled fashion. The technique, discovered with his colleagues at IBM, allows removal of material to a precisely determined depth without thermal damage to surrounding tissue.
Until the early 1980s, lasers were used in eye surgery to create scar tissue that had therapeutic value, as when welding a torn or detached retina. The excimer laser breakthrough is used for delicate surgical procedures, most notably refractive eye surgeries such as PRK and LASIK. LASIK (laser in situ keratomileusis) permanently changes the shape of the cornea, the clear covering of the front of the eye, using the excimer laser.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Wynne attended Harvard University, receiving his A.B. in 1964, his M.A. in 1965, and his Ph.D. in 1969, all in physics. He joined IBM in 1969, worked in the Zurich Research Laboratory for one and a half years, then moved to the Watson Research Center in New York. He was manager of the laser physics and chemistry group when his team discovered excimer laser surgery. The recipient of many IBM honors, Wynne has been involved with education outreach since the early 1990s. He is presently exploring new ways to apply laser technology to dermatology.