Breaking News: Artificial Tissue May Impact LASIK Surgery

Lasik and artificial tissue Researchers Use Artificial Tissues To Reshape Cornea
A new study published in the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery suggests that artificially manufactured human tissues or collagen may be used to reshape the cornea in patients with vision problems.

This discovery may introduce a new method of treating traditional problems including near and farsightedness as well as presbyopia.

Corneal Onlays The Future Of Eye Health
This new method of using manufactured eye tissue to reshape the cornea is known as "corneal onlays" and is still in experimental stages. Studies suggest that artificial tissue used to reshape the cornea works much in the same way an implantable or intraocular lens might, only the tissue placed on the cornea is permanent.

The benefit of using onlays is obvious. Because the corneal onlay is more natural than an artificial lens it conforms better to the natural shape of the cornea. The substance is made primarily of collagen and liquid.

Researchers claim this new method is less invasive than other procedures, including LASIK, because the surgeon does not remove any tissue from the eye. In traditional LASIK and other refractive procedures, typically a surgeon creates a corneal flap then reshapes the cornea by removing corneal tissue.

Corneal onlay surgery accomplishes just the opposite, by adding artificial tissue into the cornea to reshape it to provide better vision. One of the biggest advantages of this new technology is surgeons can easily remove the added tissue if adverse effects occur.

Other procedures, including LASIK are not reversible. This new procedure may also be used to correct errors occurring during refractive surgery, including over or under correction. Rather than re-laser the eye, a surgeon could use new technology to add more tissue to the cornea's surface and reshape the cornea to a more perfect shape. This in turn will produce optimal vision in patients.

How It All Works
Corneal onlays still require surgical intervention. During surgery the surgeon removes the epithelium, or thin covering, of the cornea, then places the onlay into a pocket the surgeon creates. The epithelium is then replaced so it can heal.

Right now researchers are battling with ways to keep the corneal onlay stable and in place while the epithelium reattaches to the new tissue. This is important to ensure long-term vision correction for the patient.

Corneal onlay surgery is not widely available, but is in the early testing stages. Hopefully full clinical trials will begin in a timely manner, providing eye care patients even more choices when it comes to correcting common vision problems.

If the researchers find the procedure works with minimal difficulty, the chances are high that it will receive FDA approval and provide a safe, non-invasive choice for patients that do not want LASIK or other refractive surgeries.

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