The US Food and Drug Administration has approved a new treatment for farsightedness known as conductive keratoplasty. The technique uses radiofrequency energy to shrink small areas of the cornea, the transparent coat on the surface of the eyeball. Unlike laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK), in which the surface of the eye is reshaped using a laser, conductive keratoplasty does not require cutting or tissue removal.
The treatment may become the preferred method of correcting farsightedness in older patients. Conductive keratoplasty is very comfortable and convenient, especially for older patients who don't want something as invasive or as complex as LASIK. It is also helpful for older patients who might have dry eye or surface epithelial irregularities, which could be exacerbated by LASIK.
The average age of patients who undergo LASIK is in the early 40s, while for conductive keratoplasty, the average age for patients has been 58. LASIK is approved for higher degrees of farsightedness and astigmatism, which is blurry vision usually caused by an uneven curvature of the cornea. Conductive keratoplasty could also be safer for patients with glaucoma, because keratoplasty does not require the temporary elevation of pressure within the eye that is induced during LASIK.
The procedure is normally conducted with topical anesthesia. Afterwards, patients normally experience some eye irritation, which resolves within 24 to 48 hours. Most of the patients have been followed for 2 years, and they have expressed overwhelming satisfaction with the procedure.