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Eye surgery unpredictable.

Eye surgery unpredictable

The long-term effects of radial keratotomy, a surgical treatment for nearsightedness, may be less stable than previously thought, according to a study in the june ARCHIVES OF OPHTHALMOLOGY. The results are "disconcerting,' says the journal's editor, Perry S. Binder.

Previous studies have found that the operation gives most people 20/40 vision or better--good enough to drive without glasses (SN: 11/17/84, p. 312). And several reports have indicated that eyesight stabilizes permanently within a year of the operation.

However, the new study, by Michael R. Deitz of Bethany Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan., and Donald R. Sanders of the University of Illinois in Chicago, shows that most of the eyes operated on in 55 patients continued to change three to four years after the operation, becoming more farsighted or more nearsighted. However, only about one-third of the changes were significant, and, because many patients did not yet have normal vision after one year, 42 percent of the changes actually improved vision.

Binder cautions that because better surgical techniques have come into use since Deitz and Sanders began their study, the results may not apply to current surgical methods. But, he writes, the short-term success of a new kind of surgery clearly does not guarantee its long-term safety and efficacy.
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Title Annotation:radial keratotomy
Publication:Science News
Date:Jun 15, 1985
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