TOPIC: FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH FOR EYES
REPORT: MB #3147
ABOUT PRESBYOPIA: Just like gray hairs and wrinkles, the ability to see things up close is an unavoidable part of aging. This condition is referred to as presbyopia and occurs when the crystalline lens of the eye loses its elasticity. This makes it difficult for the lens to change shape in order to focus on near objects. The effects of presbyopia normally take place over a number of years and become noticeable in the early to mid-40s. Since the condition is a normal part of the aging process, it cannot be prevented, according to the American Optometric Association. Signs of presbyopia include blurred vision at normal reading distance, eye fatigue and headaches when doing close work.
TREATMENT: To help correct the effects of presbyopia, an optometrist may prescribe reading glasses, bifocals, trifocals or contact lenses. Changes in eyewear will probably be necessary since the effects of presbyopia continue to change the ability of the crystalline lens to focus. Another option is corneal implants. Though no such treatments have been approved by the FDA for use in the United States, a number of companies are conducting clinical trials to evaluate implants and inlays.
SCLERAL SPACING PROCEDURE: Ming Wang, M.D., Ph.D., is an ophthalmologist at the Wang Vision Cataract & LASIK Center in Nashville -- one of three centers in the United States conducting a clinical trial on a new treatment for presbyopia. It's called the scleral spacing procedure (SSP). It involves placing four scleral expansion bands -- tiny plastic spacers the size of a grain of rice -- into the scleral, or white, part of the eye. The spacers create an additional space for the eye to change shape and focus. The technique does not affect a patient's existing vision. It's also reversible, should the segments need to be removed for any reason. Dr. Wang says SSP takes up to 20 years off a patient's eyes.
"We have shown that perhaps, just perhaps, human beings can now get one step closer to one of the ultimate dreams in medicine -- one of the ultimate dreams as a human being -- that is to have our youth restored," Dr. Wang told Ivanhoe.
Three-hundred patients will take place in the U.S. FDA study of SSP. The value of the surgery is estimated to be $10,000, though it's free of charge to patients in the study. To qualify for the clinical trial, patients must be between the ages of 50 and 60, have had no prior eye surgeries or eye conditions, and have good distance vision, needing only correction for up-close vision.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Ming Wang, M.D., Ph.D.
Wang Vision Cataract and LASIK Center
©2007 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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