Published in the Houston Chronicle
December 8, 1999
Contact: Michele Hay
The Eye Clinic of Texas

For nine years, Bernard A. Milstein, one of the founding fathers of laser vision correction surgery, has performed the procedure on thousands of nearsighted patients and those with astigmatism, thereby repairing their vision and allowing them to forego eyeglasses and contact lenses. Now, with recent approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), farsighted patients can participate in the procedure as well. Milstein and the ophthalmologists at The Eye Clinic of Texas started performing laser vision correction surgery on farsighted patients November 15.

“We have always had the technology to perform laser vision correction to treat hyperopia (farsightedness), but the procedure had not been approved by the FDA,” said Milstein, who performed the first laser vision correction in the State of Texas in 1991. “This announcement will allow patients with up to .4 diopters of hyperopia to enjoy the benefits of this simple procedure,” he added.

Laser vision correction surgery uses a computerized, cool beamed laser to precisely reshape the surface of the cornea so that light rays can focus correctly on the cornea. There are two types of laser vision correction surgery that are currently being performed: photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) and laser assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK). Both PRK and LASIK are very similar procedures; they differ only in that they use a different instrument to prepare the surface of the cornea for the laser portion of the surgery. FDA approval of the procedure for farsightedness specifically uses the Apex Plus Excimer laser to reshape the cornea.

The entire outpatient procedure takes 20 minutes, and the patient is comfortable and relaxed during the entire time. After the procedure is completed, some patients experience slightly blurred vision for a few days and many patients begin to see more clearly within hours after the procedure. Patients wear an eye shield to prevent them from rubbing their eyes for the next 24 hours. Clear vision without the hassle of corrective lenses begins to occur within 12 hours.

The Eye Clinic of Texas was one of 10 United States eye centers selected in 1991 to participate in the initial clinical trials for PRK.

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