Sooner or later it happens to most of us. We realize we need reading glasses. Now there may soon be a quick surgical fix.

This woman can t be identified by name because she is the first person in the United States to take part in an FDA study on a potentially breakthrough procedure to restore her reading vision.

I would be in the store I couldn t read the tag. I couldn t read. I couldn t just pick up a book, she said.

Then she met ophthalmologist Dr. Kerry Assil, who is leading the study on a new lens one fifth the size of a human hair.

The lens works by having a clear center portion so the light goes through unimpeded and therefore the distance vision remains good and the surround has power that enables us to see up close, explained Dr. Assil.

It s a two-step process.

First we use a laser as we do in Lasik. Instead of creating a flap in the cornea, it ll create a tunnel, said Dr. Assil.

Next, he uses a powerful telescope to carefully insert the lens into that tunnel.

At times, it was a little bit painful, said the patient, but it was a very short surgery. It was 10 minutes, maybe at the most.

Improvement came within hours.

I am ecstatic, said the patient. I mean, it s been so incredible. I tell everyone. I ve been able to share and just say I no longer have the dependency on reading glasses.

The procedure is still experimental but if the study goes well, the treatment could soon be available to the public.

Other surgical treatments may eliminate the need for reading glasses, but they create monovision where one eye sees distance and the other close-up.

Related links:

Reading Vision Lens information

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