New Implantable Lens Could Be The Answer To Cataracts - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/9/04

New Implantable Lens Could Be The Answer To Cataracts

If you're tired of glasses and laser surgery can't correct the problem, particularly if cataracts are causing vision trouble that glasses can't correct, a new kind of implantable lens could be the solution for some people.

The FDA has approved something called the Crystalens. Its tiny hinges make it different from any other implant or contact lens.

"What happens is the focus muscles in the eye, when they compress, they push the fluid in the back of the eye forward and that moves the lens forward. So the lens actually moves back and forth inside the eye and changes the effective power of the lens," explains Dr. Neil Martin, an Ophthalmologist.

Here's how it works. The doctor first removes the cataract with a tiny probe that liquifies its hard surface and vacuums away the debris. Then the lens is inserted through a tiny incision and moved into place. The eye's membrane holds it there. And after one tiny suture, the whole process is finished, in about 15 minutes.

"I don't need reading glasses, or glasses for anything: distance, computer or fine print. It's absolutely like I was when I was a teenager," says Richard Chais, patient.

Right now the Crystalens technology is only approved by the FDA for restoring the vision of people who need cataract surgery. But Dr. Martin and a lot of others believe that this could someday be appealing to millions of baby boomers who can't read up close without glasses.

For now, it's only approved for people who need to have cataracts removed. The lens implants cost about $5,000 for each eye.

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