The University Record, June 3, 2002

New non-laser procedure treats farsightedness

By Kara Gavin
Health System Public Relations

Farsighted people now have a new option for correcting their vision. Physicians at the U-M Kellogg Eye Center are the first in Michigan and some of the first in the nation to offer a new non-laser technique, called Conductive KeratoplastySM, to treat hyperopia—the technical name for farsightedness.

The CK procedure, which recently was approved by the Food and Drug Administration, uses the controlled release of low-level radiofrequency energy, instead of a laser, to reshape the cornea. It is performed in just a few minutes with only topical anesthetic in the form of eye drops.

Two diagrams of the eye (above and below) show how the eye is reshaped and how it is marked for treatment spots. Visit the Web at www.kellogg.umich.edu/LASIK/ck.html for a more complete description.
Hyperopia occurs when the cornea is too flat or the eye is too short, so that light rays focus behind rather than directly on the retina. It affects more than 60 million people over age 40, affecting their ability to see fine print and other near objects.

Alan Sugar, corneal surgeon at Kellogg and professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences, says that he views the procedure as a good alternative for some patients—those over the age of 40 with mild to moderate hyperopia.

“Most patients in the trials reported normal or near normal vision after the CK procedure,” Sugar says. “We also found that the healing time is faster than hyperopia laser procedures because CK does not involve cutting or removing corneal tissue.”

CK is performed using a small probe, thinner than a strand of human hair, that releases low-level RF energy in a circular pattern on the outer cornea, thus shrinking small areas of corneal tissue. The circular pattern acts like a belt tightening around the cornea to increase its overall curvature.

Until the advent of CK, Sugar and his colleagues at Kellogg performed vision-correction surgery only for people with myopia, commonly called nearsightedness. The most common procedure is LASIK, a laser vision correction procedure that involves creating a flap in the cornea, treating the exposed tissue with the laser, and then replacing the flap.

People who meet the following criteria could be candidates for CK:

  • Age 40 and over

  • No drastic changes in vision or eyeglass prescription within the past year

  • No eye conditions such as glaucoma, severe dryness, keratoconus, herpes of the eye, aggressive keloid formation or corneal dystrophy

  • No physical conditions such as diabetes, pregnancy or nursing, and vascular or autoimmune diseases

    For more information about CK and other vision correction procedures, call the U-M Kellogg Eye Center Refractive Surgery Service, (734) 615-6914 or visit the Web site at www.kellogg.umich.edu.