Experimental procedure could replace reading glasses

Experimental procedure could replace reading glasses
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Most Americans start having trouble reading as the get older.

"I would be in the store-- I couldn't read the tag. I couldn't read. I couldn't just pick up a book," said one woman.

She cannot be identified by name because she is the first person in the United States to take part in an FDA study on a potentially breakthrough procedure to get her reading vision back.

Before, her only choice was glasses. Then she met ophthalmologist Dr. Kerry Assil, who was leading the study on a new, tiny, unique lens.

"The lens works by having a clear center portion so the light goes through unimpeded and therefore the distance vision remains good and the surround has power that enables us to see up close," explained Dr. Assil.

Because of both the nature and the size of the lens - one-fifth the size of a human hair - Dr. Assil does the procedure in two steps. First, they use a laser like in Lasik. But instead of creating a flap in the cornea, it will create a tunnel. The second step is carefully inserting the lens into that tunnel with the help of a powerful microscope.

"At times, it was a little bit painful," said the patient, "but it was a very short surgery. It was 10 minutes, maybe at the most."

She said she noticed a difference within a few hours of the procedure, and the improvement continued as time went on.

"I am ecstatic. I mean, it's been so incredible. I tell everyone. I've been able to share and just say I no longer have the dependency on reading glasses."

The procedure is still experimental but if the study goes well, the treatment could soon be available to the public.