at American Academy of Ophthalmology Meeting Oct. 27-31

September 22, 1997

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, October 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, theophthalmologist 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, October 27-31, or afterwards at his office in Atlanta.)

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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