Numerous techniques have been utilised during the 20th century to correct refractive errors in the eye. In the 1970s an excimer laser was developed at IBM to etch fine lines in microcircuit boards. In 1983 ophthalmologists recognised its micro precision and the lack of thermal damage caused to tissue immediately beside the treated area. First patient treatments began in 1989. LASIK treatment has resulted in over 20 million people worldwide reducing or eliminating their dependence on spectacles or contact lenses.