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Winner 2012


Laser surgery pioneer

Winner of the 2012 European Inventor Award for Lifetime Achievement, Professor Bille's pioneering work in the field of laser eye surgery has produced groundbreaking innovations that have corrected the sight of millions of people worldwide.

“The field has changed so dramatically...without question, wavefront is the biggest revolution in ophthalmic optics in the last 200 years.”


Professor Josef Bille, winner of the 2012 European Inventor Lifetime Achievement Award is a pioneer in the field of corrective laser eye surgery. For more than 40 years he has worked on developing and refining a method for mapping irregularities in the cornea and fine tuning the lasers required to repair them.

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Central to the technology is his groundbreaking work in wavefront technology, a measurement technology which can scan the human eye with extraordinary precision for small errors. With a detailed map of these errors, it is possible to devise precise surgical procedures (wavefront guided laser eye surgery) or to produce tailor-made lenses.

Professor Bille's contributions to the field of laser eye surgery allow medical professionals to map the structure of the eye with unprecedented precision, and provides them with lasers that are accurate and delicate enough to correct nearly any imperfection.


Professor Josef Bille's work continuously refining and improving laser eye surgery technology has led to him filing over 100 patents. The huge value of these patents is highlighted by the number of times they are cited by other patent applicants, currently an impressive 683 times.

The far reaching social and economic impact of his work, as well as the complex engineering problems that Professor Bille has solved during his career helped him to clinch this coveted award. His work has led to the creation of five successful companies, creating over 1000 jobs, and impacting the lives of millions of patients worldwide who have now been treated using this technology.

Find out more about the European Inventor Award 2013 →

Visit the Hall of Fame exhibition

The Hall of Fame is a travelling exhibition that honours outstanding creativity and innovation among the finalists and winners of the European Inventor Award. Seven innovators and innovation teams, whose work exemplifies invention’s sweeping impact, have been selected for recognition.

See the film →

The exhibition’s next stop is the Città della Scienza near Naples, where it will run from March 21 through the end of June 2014.

Città della Scienza
Via Coroglio, 104
80124 Napoli

Google Maps →

Opening hours:
Monday: closed
From Tuesday to Saturday: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

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