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Three daughters undergo surgery with tech invented by dad

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Dan Neal developed technology that is used during many LASIK surgeries. On Friday, Dec. 21, three of his daughters will undergo the procedure. From left to right: Katya Voss, Neal, Lydia Grindatto, Daniella Houk and Dr. Stephen Coleman, who is performing the surgeries. (COURTESY OF COLEMAN VISION)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For Christmas, Dan Neal of Albuquerque is giving three of his adult children the gift of better sight, with LASIK eye surgeries that use a device he developed.

Neal, now a research fellow with Johnson & Johnson, is the inventor of a diagnostic tool that precisely measures the eye over 1,000 points across the pupil. The technology, called the iDesign platform, is widely used in LASIK surgeries internationally. His daughters Katya Voss, Daniella Houk and Lydia Grindatto will undergo the procedure on Friday at Coleman Vision in Albuquerque.

“I’m excited to see it happen,” said Neal. “I’ve seen from all the clinical studies how great patients say the results are. I’m happy to help them after they’ve struggled with glasses and contact lenses all these years.”

Voss, a mother of eight children, said she is looking forward to not having to deal with the various issues associated with her astigmatism. Houk, also a mother of young children, said she can’t wait until she can see the clock in the middle of the night without searching around for her glasses.

Grindatto, a professional opera singer, said she remembers what it was like to get glasses for the first time when she was 11 and hopes the surgery will similarly improve her life.

“Before I got glasses, I used to memorize the menu at places like Starbucks, because I just couldn’t see it when I got up to the front of the line,” said Grindatto. “I was so excited when I could just see instead of having to do that.”

Neal has two other adult children, one of whom has already undergone LASIK and one who is waiting until she is 21 to do so. Neal says he can’t undergo the procedure himself as a result of retinal detachment he experienced when he was younger.

He also helped finetune mirrors on the James Webb Space Telescope using a technology similar to that used with the eye surgeries, though on a much different scale.

“It’s almost exactly the same process,” he said.

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