December 22, 2003.
Reporter: Kathy Fowler,
YOU'RE ABOUT TO MEET A WOMAN WHO'S BEEN LEGALLY BLIND HER ENTIRE LIFE, BUT CAN NOW SEE PERFECTLY THANKS TO A NEW PROCEDURE.
IT'S CALLED A LENS IMPLANT.
MEDICAL REPORTER KATHY FOWLER JOINS US WITH THIS STORY.
Fowler on set:
THIS LEN'S IMPLANT IS LIKE A CONTACT LENS THAT'S ACTUALLY PUT INSIDE YOUR EYE.
IT'S A PROCEDURE THAT CAN GIVE PEOPLE 20/20 VISION WITHOUT CONTACTS OR GLASSES. AND FOR THE FIRST TIME, THIS ALSO WORKS FOR PEOPLE WITH EXTREMELY POOR VISION.
Charlotte Becker: "I was born with terrible eyesight."
CHARLOTTE BECKER HAS BEEN LEGALLY BLIND WITHOUT GLASSES SINCE THE AGE OF TWO.
Charlotte: "It was very scary ... very, very scary. ... I used to have nightmares that we were at the pool and I couldn't see where my children were in the pool, or that one of them would fall and I'd have trouble getting to them."
BUT NOW, SHE CAN SEE AND HAS 20/20 VISION - IN HER RIGHT EYE ANYWAY. THAT'S BECAUSE DOCTORS PERFORMED A LENS IMPLANT ON HER RIGHT EYE.
IT'S LIKE A CONTACT LENS BUT THIS CORRECTIVE LENS IS ACTUALLY INSERTED INSIDE YOUR EYE BY A DOCTOR.
Dr. Thomas Clinch: "Here is your natural crystaline lens ... what we are going to do is take another lens and place it here inside the eye so it increases the focusing power of your eye." v
Charlotte: "It feels like a natural eye."
PATIENTS ARE AWAKE, BUT SEDATED, SO THEY'LL BE RELAXED DURING THE PROCEDURE. A SMALL INCISION IS MADE IN THE CORNEA, A CORRECTIVE LENS IS INSERTED AND THEN IT'S CLOSED.
Dr. Clinch: "'The surgery takes between 10 to 15 minutes."
Charlotte: "It's been everything I could have asked for it's given me sight 24 hours a day."
THIS PROCEDURE IS STILL IN CLINICAL TRIALS. ONCE IT'S APPROVED BY THE FDA, CHARLOTTE CAN GET HER OTHER EYE DONE.
Charlotte: "I will as soon as it's approved."
Fowler on set:
THIS PROCEDURE IS EXPECTED TO BE APPROVED BY THE FDA SOON. BUT AS OF RIGHT NOW, YOU CAN ONLY GET IT DONE IF YOU ENROLL IN DR. CLINCH'S CLINICAL TRIAL.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW TO DO THAT LOG ON TO:
or call 301-215-7100
© Copyright 2003 Allbritton Communications Company. The Associated Press may have contributed to this report. All rights reserved.
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