From common to complex, new techniques that are giving people who've lost sight the chance to see again.
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Host: 163 million American adults wear glasses or contact lenses but 11 ½ million have vision conditions so severe that glasses don’t help. We talk to researchers around the country who are setting there sights on saving site for those who’ve loss it. Rick Timberman: I’m a physician and I was on suturing and like that so I really know where I couldn’t tie or not, I couldn’t see the end of the knot. Host: Rick Timberman is in a good company, he is among the 90 million Americans who’ve notice a vision change in middle age. The medical term is Presbyopia an eye condition that makes a difficult to focus on objects close up. Clinical trials are now on the way using the tiny implantable lens called acufocus to restore near vision. Using the laser surgeons make flat of the cornea and then they place a donut shape lens thinner than the human hair under the flat. The implant blocks unfocused light while a small opening allows focus light to enter improving what you see close up. Thomas Tooma: This is the first time that we’re able to see beautifully at distance and it near out of the same eye. Rick Timberman: I helping a friend the other day in his garage and you know put a car gear and his looking for a screws and he wears glasses and he couldn’t find and I was like there, there it is and I picked the one up and there it is you know so. Host: Russell Dellong has an even more severe vision problem. In fact four years ago driving the tractors would have been impossible. Russell Dellong: That was totally blind I couldn’t see nothing. Host: Macular degeneration rub Russell of his sight, broaden surgery didn’t do much to help. Russell Dellong: And everything looks like that real heavy fog. Host: Then he found Dr. Susan Prima at Emory University; she uses this computer to map areas of the retina damage by macular degeneration and those still intact. Specialize program then trains the patient to shift his or her vision using the good cells to see. Susan Primo: That’s really a serious of bio-feedback training to get the patient to move enough position that we feel is going to be the most sensitive to give him or her the best vision that is possible. Host: Russell uses the special glasses to help him read. Russell Dellong: I can read this now, when I look at it it’s blank and nothing out there. I turn my head a little bit and I see around the scar tissue and I have a tractors. Host: 9 years ago Kate was afflicted with the rare skin conditions that severely damage her cornea. Victor Perez: It’s very frustrating because his patients are blind because there front type of the eyes cut it down. Host: Kate underwent a remarkable procedure called Modified Osteo-Odonto-Keratoprosthesis. Kate: That one they go and put it in my eye and I said yeah. Host: Surgeons replace case damage cornea with moist tissue from inside her mouth. Victor Perez: And then we take the tooth and the bone that communicates with that lining all the time with the mouth and we put it in the eye. Host: The bone and tooth serve as a base for a prosthetic lens that’s works incase eye like a telescope. Kate: I could see it, oh my yeah oh my god I do see it. Host: As Kate’s eye heals doctors will implant a shell that will make it look more natural, studies in Europe indicate the prosthetic last up to ten years. From common to rare conditions three new ways to restore the gift of sight. Kate: There is nothing like you thank, I thank god everyday.