Emory Ophthalmologist Presents Course on LASIK at American Academy of Ophthalmology Meeting

October 30, 1996

Media Contacts: Sarah Goodwin, 404/727-3366 - sgoodwi@emory.edu

Emory Eye Center cornea surgeon George O. Waring, III, M.D., will lead a course on laser in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK), which has gained considerable recognition internationally as an effective treatment for nearsightedness. The course is on Sunday, Oct. 27, 1 - 4 p.m., at the American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting at McCormick Place in Chicago. This is the first time the AAO has offered a course on LASIK.

Emory is one of approximately 15 centers in the United States approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to perform LASIK. The goal of the procedure is to reduce or eliminate the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses by surgically reshaping the cornea and improving the refractive error of the eye. LASIK corrects from mild to severe forms of myopia (nearsightedness) or astigmatism (irregular surface of the cornea). "The laser is the most accurate device available to reshape the cornea," said Dr. Waring, who is principal investigator of the FDA-approved trial at Emory.

During a five- to 10-minute outpatient procedure, the ophthalmologist first numbs the eye with anesthetic drops and then uses a microsurgical instrument to create a protective flap of corneal tissue. Next, he sculpts the middle layer of the cornea with a cold excimer laser to change the focus of the eye. The outside flap of cornea seals and protects the incision.

LASIK is a combination of two sophisticated techniques, one of which surgeons have been using for 30 years and the other for 10 years.

(Dr. Waring is available for interviews during the Academy meeting, Oct. 27-31, or afterwards at his office in Atlanta.)


Mary Gerard Lynch, M.D., and Allen D. Beck, M.D., glaucoma specialists from the Emory Eye Center in Atlanta, will present a course, "Surgical Management of Pediatric Glaucomas," at the American Academy of Ophthalmology annual conference. The course is Tuesday, Oct. 29, 8:30 - 9:30 a.m. at McCormick Place in Chicago.

Drs. Lynch and Beck will present techniques for managing pediatric glaucomas, including goniotomy, trabeculotomy, antiproliferative-augmented trabeculectomy, seton implantation, and cyclodestruction. The course includes case studies and a panel discussion.

Dr. Lynch has developed a new surgical approach to treat congenital glaucoma. This new procedure is better than conventional methods because it requires only one surgery instead of three and significantly reduces the likelihood of scarring and developing nearsightedness. The procedure, a refinement of 360 trabeculotomy, relieves the sight-stealing ocular pressure of glaucoma by opening the eye's tiny drainage system with a suture fragment made of polypropylene (Prolene).

"This technique has a success rate equal to that of standard trabeculotomy techniques and avoids many of the difficulties encountered with metal probes," Dr. Beck reported in a published study last year. The published account reported results of the technique performed on 15 children. The average age of the young subjects was 8.5 years. Eighty-seven percent of the children had successful results and required only one procedure instead of three.

(Both Drs. Lynch and Beck are available in Chicago during the Academy meeting, Oct. 27-31, or afterwards in their offices in Atlanta.)


The American Academy of Ophthalmology will present Emory Eye Center neuro-ophthalmologist Nancy Newman, M.D., with an honor award certificate for her many years of service to the Academy and its scientific and continuing education programs.

"It is quite a privilege to receive this award from the Academy, which is the most prestigious of national professional organizations for ophthalmologists," Dr. Newman said.

She will receive the award at the Academy's annual conference in Chicago, Oct. 27-31.

The Academy honors members who contribute significantly to the field of ophthalmology. The honorees regularly publish scientific papers, review educational material, provide lectures and courses at educational conferences, and serve the Academy in leadership positions.

For more general information on The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, call Health Sciences News and Information at 404-727-5686, or send e-mail to hsnews@emory.edu.

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