Local News

Procedures Offer New Options For Corrective Eye Surgery

Posted April 1, 2003

— More than 1.5 million people had laser eye surgery to correct vision problems in 2002.

LASIK

surgery is the most common corrective procedure, but people who are not candidates for LASIK have some new options.

Robert Walker said his eyesight started to fail at age 40.

He said his farsightedness got so bad he had to start wearing glasses.

Walker said he decided to look into laser eye surgery.

"With my condition, LASIK was no help," he said.

Walker tried a new procedure called

conductive keratoplasty

, or CK.

Dr. George Tate is the first surgeon in North Carolina to offer CK.

Instead of a laser, Tate uses a tiny electrode to deliver radio frequency energy to the cornea.

It reshaped the cornea and corrected Walker's farsightedness.

The procedure takes less than three minutes.

Shawn Lorden also wants to get rid of his glasses.

"I think about the fourth grade was when I started wearing glasses," he said.

Instead of LASIK surgery, Lorden is having LASEK, or E-LASEK surgery.

E-LASEK is ideal for people with thin corneas or cannot have LASIK for some other reason.

Tate said most laser eye surgeries involve cutting a flap on the outer layer of the cornea.

"With this procedure, you don't make that flap. You simply loosen the top layer of cells called the epithelium and push it back and do the procedure on the surface of the eye," said Tate.

When the procedure is done, the cells are put back in place.

Neither procedure gives results as dramatic as LASIK surgery.

"Some people are seeing better in a day," said Tate.

Most see full results within a week.

Walker said he cannot wait for that to happen.

Lorden said he hopes he will never see his glasses again.

"I don't plan on wearing them again after today's procedure," he said.

Experts advised patients to have realistic expectations. Not everyone will have 20/20 vision and patients often need touchups.

E-LASEK costs around the same as regular LASIK and CK is several hundred dollars less per eye.

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