So Near And Yet So Far. . . FDA Approves Laser Vision Correction For Farsightedness

January 18, 1999

LOS ANGELES (January 18, 1999) -- For nearly a decade, nearsighted individuals have benefited from the development and FDA approval of techniques and technology for laser-assisted vision correction. For these nearsighted Americans, laser vision correction opened the exciting possibility of seeing clearly without the aid of either glasses or contact lenses.

Now, with the approval by the FDA of VISX Excimer Laser Systems (TM) for hyperopia, farsighted individuals for the first time can also enjoy the same opportunity.

Ophthalmologist James J. Salz, M.D., of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, one of the nation's leaders in the field of laser surgery, was the principal investigator of the VISX Los Angeles-area hyperopia clinical trial. The outstanding outcomes of patients in the Cedars-Sinai trial, together with equally positive results in 6 other regional trial centers, led to the FDA approval for the VISX systems.

"It is exciting to me that farsighted people will now be able to see clearly," Dr. Salz said. "The clinical results that I've experienced with the VISX STAR (TM) laser have been truly outstanding - at one year after surgery, 95 percent of patients in our study achieved 20/40 or better vision without glasses, which would allow them to pass the California drivers test.

"Understandably, our patients have been extremely pleased with their outcomes," Dr. Salz added.

The FDA approval allows for use of VISX systems in the treatment of farsightedness between +1.0 and +6.0 diopters of farsightedness with minimal amounts of astigmatism according to Mark Logan, VISX chairman and chief executive officer. To be treated, patients must be at least 21 years old and have a stable refraction, Dr. Salz added.

Farsighted persons interested in the new treatment may call Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's physician referral service, Cedars On Call, at 1-800-CEDARS-1 (1-800-233-2771).
SIDEBAR: Patient Story
Kati Breckenridge, Ph.D., 55, of Los Angeles, is a clinical trial participant. She was far-sighted and wore bi-focals "all the time," she says. "I couldn't see my patients, couldn't even read signs without my glasses."

Kati was referred to Dr. Salz by her optometrist. There she learned about the clinical trial and, after matching the criteria, decided to participate.

"My right eye was done in mid-1997," she says. "It took about two minutes, and I was wide awake the whole time. After the two minutes, I sat up and I could see."

According to the clinical trial guidelines, Kati had to wait six months to have surgery on her left eye, but when she did, she enjoyed similar results.

"I absolutely would do it again," she says. "Dr. Salz and his staff are wonderful, very friendly people."

Available For Interviews:
James Salz, M.D., Principal Investigator, Ophthalmologist, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Kati Breckenridge, Ph.D., Patient

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

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