in to Better Vision
By Colette Bouchez, HealthScoutNews
If you're tired
of spending a fortune on wrinkle treatments only to have those reading
glasses give away your true age, then this news is for you: The
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just approved a new
procedure that should help aging baby boomers read more clearly
Called CK -- short
for conductive keratoplasty -- the minimally invasive treatment uses
the controlled release of radio waves to reshape the cornea, letting
those with mild to moderate farsightedness read without corrective
lenses. Currently, laser eye surgery -- which involves the cutting
and removing of eye tissue -- is the standard treatment for these
patients who find they need reading glasses once they pass age 40
to see clearly again at close range, with 95 percent of patients
in the clinical trails achieving normal or near normal vision,"
says Dr. Penny Asbell, director of the Cornea Service and Refractive
Surgery Center at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, where
some of the clinical trials on CK were conducted.
-- also known as hyperopia -- occurs when light meant to shine on
the surface of the retina actually focuses behind it. This, says
Asbell, occurs because the cornea is flatter than what is seen in
a normal eye.
are young, hyperopia often doesn't interfere with vision. That's
mainly because the lens of your eye adapts easily to different focusing
situations, accommodating for deficiencies caused by the flattened
we pass age 40, we start to lose that ability to adapt. So, it becomes
increasingly difficult to read a book, a menu or a computer screen.
CK makes the
cornea rounder, which once again lets the eye adapt to various focusing
CK, we use tiny pulses of radio frequency energy delivered to the
eye via a ultra-thin probe, to shrink tiny bits of tissue around
the cornea," Asbell explains. This forms a kind of band around
the cornea, which, much like a belt that cinches in the waist, pulls
in the cornea and forces it to take on a more rounded appearance.
is much closer to the shape of a normal cornea, so close vision
is now possible without glasses," Asbell says.
predecessor, LASIK laser eye surgery, CK never touches the area
of the eye directly involved with vision, Asbell says. There is
no cutting involved, and no tissue removed. As such, Asbell claims
there is virtually no chance for damage to occur during the procedure.
The CK treatment,
which takes just three minutes and requires only anesthetic eye
drops, also lets patients see clearly almost immediately.
Asbell, who performs both laser eye surgery and CK, says CK appears
to be free of some of the common side effects linked to laser surgery
-- such as night blindness, glare and halo effects.
As good as
it sounds, however, not all ophthalmologists agree it's any better
than the more established laser procedure.
doesn't accomplish anything that we can't do with the laser eye
surgery, plus there is no long-term follow up on CK. We don't know
if the vision correction is permanent, or if these patients are
going to need another procedure down the line to maintain their
vision," says Dr. Sandra Belmont, director of the Laser Vision
Correction Center at New York Weill Cornell Medical Center. Belmont
does not perform CK surgery.
follow-up on CK is about two years, and Asbell says no vision problems
have been reported.
points out that not all people in the study achieved full correction
of their vision with CK. So, there's no guarantee you won't have
to wear reading glasses after all. This could also happen with laser
surgery, she adds.
biggest caveat with CK, Belmont says, is it can't be used on patients
with an astigmatism -- a condition that causes an irregularly shaped
cornea. Laser surgery can treat these patients.
really for a small segment of patients -- those with low hyperopia
(mild farsightedness), without astigmatism, over age 40. But if
you have any astigmatism and require anything more than a mild vision
correction, the best choice is LASIK," Belmont says.
not agree completely: "While CK can't be done on those with
astigmatism, it can be very helpful, even in moderate hyperopia.
And for the person who otherwise has good vision but simply requires
reading glasses after age 40, this can be a fast, easy, effective
and very safe treatment."
It is considered
so safe that, during clinical trials, the FDA let patients have
both eyes done at the same time, something that's rarely done in
For more information
on CK, visit Refratec
or check out the Refractive
For more on
hyperopia and laser eye surgery, visit St.
Luke's Cataract and Laser Institute.
To learn more
about LASIK eye surgery for all forms of vision correction, check
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