Fountain of Youth for Eyes

FRESNO, Calif.

After age 40, our eyes start to have trouble focusing up close on words in books, newspapers, and other tiny objects. But some doctors say an experimental eye surgery could be the fountain of youth for our eyes.

Marla Huskey knows how to work her magic in the kitchen. But as she gets older, she finds herself doing less chopping and more straining.

An experimental procedure could turn back the clock for aging eyes.

"After age 40, every year, the distance that we can read things clearly begins to recede from us," Ming Wang, M.D., Ph.D., ophthalmologist at Wang Vision Cataract & LASIK Center, in Nashville, Tenn., told Ivanhoe.

As we age, the lens inside our eye ball grows, but the eyeball doesn't. A tighter quarter around the lens makes it harder to focus. In a new procedure, surgeons implant four curved plastic spacers the size of a grain of rice within the wall of the eye ball, giving the lens space to change shape and focus.

Molly Stewart had the surgery one week ago. It improved her vision from 20-100 to 20-40.

"I can already tell a difference when they're doing the eye tests on me, when I can read below the average line," Stewart explained.

Dr. Ming Wang says the surgery takes 15 to 20 years off the eye. Huskey's vision also improved to 20-40. "Oh it's just fun to think I can see as good as I could when I was in my mid-20s," Huskey said.

Now, she's back focusing on more important things than finding her glasses.

To qualify for the Scleral spacing procedure, patients must be 50 to 60 years old with no prior eye surgeries and good vision aside from reading glasses.

Only three centers in the United States are performing the experimental surgery -- in New York, Chicago and Nashville. If the patient doesn't like the outcome, the surgery can be reversed.

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