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D. Intacs: A Possible Alternative to Laser Surgery

Narrator: This is Science Today. In the last few years, patients with myopia or nearsightedness have had an alternative to laser surgery called Intacs - which are designed to remain permanently in the eye but can be removed if necessary. Dr. David Shanzlin of the University of California, San Diego, was the international investigator for Intacs and says these tiny, transparent rings are implanted onto the cornea.

Shanzlin: The concept behind the Intacs really dates back to the late 1970s. An optometrist conceived of the idea of putting a ring of plastic into the cornea and in doing so by expanding and or contracting it, he would be able to either flatten or steepen the cornea and therefore, correct all refractive errors.

Narrator: Shanzlin says one of the benefits of Intacs is the fact no tissue is removed at all - instead, a small pocket is made in the cornea to insert these little arcs of plastic.

Shanzlin: Now, the advantage to the patient and from my own personal viewpoint, the advantage to the surgeon, is that if the patient has a problem or if the patient does not like the result for any reason, you take it out.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.