Stephen Updegraff

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Stephen Updegraff, M.D., FACS (born January 31, 1962, St. Petersburg, Florida) is an American refractive surgeon best known for his early involvement in, and contributions to, LASIK.[1] He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a board-certified member of the American Board of Ophthalmology, a founding member of the American College of Ophthalmic Surgeons, and a member of the International Society of Refractive Surgery, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, and the Pine Ridge Eye Study Society. Updegraff currently serves as the Medical Director of Updegraff Vision in St. Petersburg, Florida.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Stephen Updegraff was a descendant of the German Op den Graeff family. He was born in St. Petersburg, Florida, and graduated from The McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He was exposed to the medical treatment of eyes at an early age by his father, ophthalmologist Ambrose Updegraff, M.D., whom he accompanied on hospital rounds to visit patients who had undergone eye surgeries.[3]

Updegraff received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Eckerd College in 1984,[4] and his M.D. from the Penn State College of Medicine in 1989.[5] He then completed a six-month internship and his ophthalmic residency at the Louisiana State University Eye Center in New Orleans, where he performed research on excimer lasers, focusing specifically on procedures such as keratomileusis.[6] During a fellowship at the University of Texas-Houston’s Hermann Eye Center, Updegraff worked for Stephen G. Slade, M.D.,[7] then one of only two surgeons in the United States performing keratomileusis,[8] and was a member of the team chaired by Slade and Luis A. Ruiz, M.D., that developed LASIK.[7]

During its 1994 FDA clinical trials, Updegraff performed the third LASIK surgery in the United States. He then became the first surgeon to perform LASIK in Asia, where he demonstrated it and taught its techniques to hundreds of doctors in China.[9] Updegraff currently has seven patents on technologies for LASIK and microsurgery of the eye,[10][11] and he frequently lectures and publishes on issues and advancements in refractive surgery.


  • Apparatus and method for mechanically dilating the pupil of an eye (1994)[12]
  • Method of radial keratotomy employing a vibrating cutting blade (1995)[13]
  • Corneal surface marker and marking method for reducing irregular astigmatism during lamellar (LASIK) corneal surgery (1997)[14]
  • Corneal surface marker and marking method for improving laser centration (1998)[15]
  • Corneal irrigation cannula and method of using (1998)[16]
  • Corneal flap/cap elevator (1998)[17]
  • Corneal irrigation cannula (1998)[18]

Awards and Achievements[edit]

1995-97 Advisory Panel, Ethicon Surgery[11]
1996-00 Skills Transfer Advisory Board Member, American Academy of Ophthalmology[11]
1997-00 USA Representative, International Society of Refractive Surgery Global Council[11]
1998-00 VISX Star Surgeon, Top 50 Excimer Laser Surgeons, United States[11]
1999 Outstanding Career Achievement Award, Eckerd College[11]
2000 Best Presentation, International Society of Refractive Surgery[11]
2001 Achievement Award, American Academy of Ophthalmology[11]
2003 Outstanding Business of the Year Award, St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce[11]
2003 Performed first Crystalens lens implant surgery in Florida[19]
2003-05 Board of Trustees Member, Prevent Blindness[11]
2007 Kritzinger Memorial Award, International Society of Refractive Surgery & South African Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery[11]
2008 Center of Excellence Award, Crystalens[11]
2009 Best Paper of Session, American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery[11]
2009-11 Dean's Council on Science member, Eckerd College[11]
2009 Distinguished Citizen Award, West Central Florida Council Boy Scouts of America[20]
2010-12 Best Doctors in America list[11]
2010-11 Leading Innovators in Premium IOL implant surgery list, Premier Surgeon[11]
2011 Top Doctors list, U.S. News & World Report[21]


  1. ^ LASIK by Updegraff
  2. ^ Updegraff Vision
  3. ^ Tomalin, Terry. Father, son keep their past afloat, St. Petersburg Times, September 8, 2006
  4. ^ The McArthur Alumni Award, Eckerd College. Accessed November 10, 2010.
  5. ^ Doctor donates to marine science studies, St. Petersburg Times, July 16, 2006.
  6. ^ Landry, Sue. Farsighted put hope in laser, St. Petersburg Times, November 7, 1998.
  7. ^ a b Slade, Stephen G., Stephen A. Updegraff, and Stephen F. Brint. (1995) In Salz, James. "Excimer Laser Myopic Keratomileusis: United States Experience," Corneal Laser Surgery. St. Louis: Mosby. 195-6.
  8. ^ Shepherd, Gary. New technique sparks visions of profitability, The Business Journal, November 6, 1998.
  9. ^ "On the Run with Larry Ericksmoen," National Dragster Magazine, September 3, 1998.
  10. ^ Updegraff, Stephen A. (2003) "The Moria M2 Microkeratome and LASIK Technique." Brint, Stephen, and Lucio Buratto. Custom LASIK: Surgical Techniques and Complications. Thorofare, NJ: Slack. 611-620.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Stephen Updegraff, M.D., CV
  12. ^ US patent 5374272 .
  13. ^ US patent 5405355 .
  14. ^ US patent 5697945 .
  15. ^ US patent 5752967 .
  16. ^ US patent 5755700 .
  17. ^ US patent 5779711 .
  18. ^ US patent 5800406 .
  19. ^ About Dr. Stephen Updegraff
  20. ^ Distinguished Citizens 12th Annual Banquet, St. Petersburg Times, November 9, 2009.
  21. ^ US News & World Report Top Doctors