Trial examines surgery to
George Waring III, professor of ophthalmology in the School of Medicine,
is studying an innovative new vision correction surgery that may eliminate
the need for glasses or contact lenses for moderately nearsighted individuals.
The surgery involves inserting a tiny, transparent ring into the cornea-the
dome-shaped, clear tissue in front of the eye. The ring reshapes the cornea
and corrects nearsightedness.
Waring and cornea specialist Doyle Stulting will enroll 45 patients into
an FDA-regulated Phase III clinical trial investigating this technique.
Emory is the first facility in the Southeast and one of only 10 centers
in the country with FDA approval to participate in the trial.
"The intrastromal corneal ring is intended to correct nearsightedness
by altering the curve of the cornea without operating in the central cornea
zone, the critical area for clear vision," Waring said. "It is
especially designed to treat patients who have -1.0 to -3.5 diopters of
myopia-mild or moderate nearsightedness." An estimated 20 million adult
Americans fall within this range of nearsightedness.
Even though the ring can remain permanently in the eye, a surgeon can remove
it in the event a patient's eyesight changes with age. The ring has been
in development for more than 10 years and was first used in nearsighted
patients in 1991.
KeraVision Inc., based in Silicon Valley, Calif., makes the ring, which
is composed of a polymer material that surgeons have used in the eye for
more than 40 years. Results from FDA Phase II studies showed that ring implants
corrected vision of 100 percent of the patients to 20/40 or better and of
54 percent to 20/20 or better. Patients undergoing the ring implant experience
a rapid visual recovery and may return to normal activities quickly.
The procedure to insert the ring, which comes in different sizes depending
on the amount of intended correction, takes approximately 15 minutes and
is typically performed under a topical anesthetic. The surgeon makes a tiny
incision in the periphery of the cornea to insert the ring. "We are
especially excited about the possibility of offering a surgical procedure
that is adjustable and reversible," said Stulting.
The Eye Center is the third leading center in the United States for the
number of ophthalmology clinical trials and is one of the top 10 institutions
in the nation for the number of eye research grants.
Those interested in participating in the the clinical trial may call (404)
250-9700 for more information.
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