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Protecting the precious gift of sight.

Eyesight, like freedom, is a precious gift not fully appreciated until sharply restricted or lost altogether. Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans suffer from corneal and other diseases, or from eye injuries that could curtail or impair the ability to see.

Ongoing research, however, has brought new hope to patients who not long ago would have suffered permanent sight loss. Although new techniques in corneal transplant surgery now have a 90-95 percent success rate, failures sometimes occur.

The Indianapolis-based Cornea Research Foundation of America maintains one of the world's largest corneal transplant data banks. By tracking cornea tissue from donor to recipient, researchers can determine the cause of transplant failures. Such failures may be caused by incompatible genetic characteristics, improper transportation or storage of cornea tissue, or other factors.

The foundation is studying new techniques in cataract surgery and the treatment of advanced glaucoma. They are also monitoring studies of laser surgery now undergoing FDA evaluation. If these procedures receive FDA approval, they should provide an effective way to permanently correct vision problems due to myopia and astigmatism. Currently, such procedures are not available to a large segment of the American population.
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Publication:Medical Update
Date:Nov 1, 1992
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