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Ed Yeates ReportingImagine a new kind of lens -- which corrects for both near and far sightedness -- that is permanently installed in the eye. It could be the forerunner of yet another lens in which its focus could actually be controlled by the muscles of the eye.
Following today's implant, a native New Yorker, now living in Utah, can see objects clearly, both far away and close up. It's sort of like a special multifunctional contact lens that's always there--will never fall out, never get lost.
George Langan came into the Eye Institute of Utah to have his second eye implanted with a new intra-ocular lens. He says he could see a change almost immediately, even after the first implant.
George Langan, Implant Patient: "I didn't have a contact lens or glasses on my left eye and I had just had the procedure done in my right eye, and I could actually read street signs. I could see the stop lights and I could read burgers, two bucks. It was absolutely amazing."
Dr. Alan Crandall says the outpatient procedure is similar to cataract surgery, only in this case, the patient doesn't have cataracts. George's natural lens is removed and replaced with a new synthetic bi-focal lens that allows him to see close up or at distance.
Dr. Crandall: "The advantage, of course, you don't have to clean 'em, take 'em out, or do anything with them. They're just there all the time."
The procedure started at almost 8:20 and at 8:30 George was finished. And he could already see out of the eye. What his lifestyle was like before, he says, is NO more.
George Langan: "Tired of trying to ski with glasses, even contacts became annoying at the end of the day. And at work people joked because I carried around three different pairs of glasses and I moved from one to another."
What's down the road will really boggle the mind. A patient's own eye muscles will probably be able to change focus on the next generation implants, similar to what we do now with the natural lenses in our eyes.
Dr. Crandall: "Don't think there's any question that that will be the next forefront of opthamology."
And that's not far off. Alan Crandall says clinical trials on this next generation lens could begin within a year.