A new procedure may help those people see clearer than ever before.
Tresia Cummings said she assists in dozens of corrective eye surgeries, but was stuck wearing thick, heavy glasses.
"They looked like coke-bottle bottoms," she said.
Then she noticed that patients like her who could not have laser surgery were seeing incredible results from a new implant contact lens.
"I said, 'Well, this is something that will work for me,'" Cummings said.
Dr. Robert Martin, with Carolina Eye Associates in Southen Pines, is helping develop the breakthrough procedure.
During the process, surgeons load a soft lens into an applicator. Then, they make a tiny incision in the cornea and insert the lens behind the iris.
"The patient gets a new lens inside their eye that they don't have to handle," Martin said.
Martin is the only eye surgeon in North Carolina involved in clinical trials for the implant lens.
So far, 60 percent of patients involved in the study saw better with the new lens than with their best prescription glasses.
The other advantage is that the procedure is reversible.
"If I don't like it, you can take that lens back out," Cummings said.
Once the lens is approved by the
Food and Drug Administration
, Martin said he believes a lot of people will be candidates for the procedure.
"A lot of people would say, 'It's good for everybody.' Most surgeons are saying, 'Well, I would use it on those patients I don't feel comfortable with LASIK,'" he said.
It has been two years since Cummings had the surgery and she has not worn her glasses since.
"To be able to see without putting glasses on was an experience I had never seen, felt before," she said.
Martin said he expects an FDA approval for implant lens for nearsightedness soon. A lens for farsightedness will take longer.
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