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Time to Toss Those Reading Glasses?

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While the surgery appears safe, its effectiveness remains to be proven. Goodman says she is thrilled with her results, calling it, "a dream come true."

Schacher tells WebMD the surgery has successfully reversed presbyopia in three-fourths of the 29 patients who have had it performed in the U.S. under early FDA guidelines.

But other eye surgeons report less success, and at least one says he has stopped doing it entirely due to poor results.

Schacher says presbyopia surgery could soon complement laser eye surgery performed to correct nearsightedness, allowing people to have excellent vision into their 60s and even 70s.

"The bottom line is that if you combine laser surgery with our procedure, people would not need glasses for reading or distance," he says.

Washington state ophthalmologist Richard Harmon, MD, FACS, says the two surgeries may one day be offered as a package, with laser surgery performed first, and then the presbyopia surgery performed several weeks or months later.

Harmon, who is president of Cascade Regional Eye and Surgery Center in Arlington, Wash., had the presbyopia surgery in both eyes and also has traveled to Mexico to perform it on three patients. The results, he says, were mixed. He is very happy with his own surgery but says two of his patients did not have successful results.

Ophthalmologist Hampton Roy, MD, says that he, too, has had the surgery and has performed it successfully on three patients. Both Harmon and Roy now own stock in Presby Corp.

"I do own stock, but I believe it is important to remain cautious about this and any unproven technological improvement," Roy says. "This may be a step toward independence from glasses and contacts, but you can't just assume that everybody will be able to get rid of their glasses and contacts by having this surgery. This is currently in FDA trials, and it may be several years before we know the results of those trials."

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