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† A. A Whole New Way To See The World

Narrator: This is Science Today. Over 50 million Americans suffering from a visual distortion called astigmatism, can now have quick, painless laser surgery to correct the problem. University of California, San Francisco eye specialist David Hwang (WONG) says the Food and Drug Administration recently approved a high tech laser treatment.

Hwang: Previously astigmatism has been treated using techniques similar to radio keratectomy, that is making precise incisions in the cornea. Recently, thereís been a lot of interest in using laser techniques to resculpt the corneal shape, but previously these have been limited to treating people who do not have astigmatism, just nearsightedness.

Narrator: The laser treatment uses whatís called an excimer laser. Unlike most lasers, the excimer laser doesnít cause burning. Instead, itís cold and vaporizes the tissue.

Hwang: And this is important because when weíre dealing with a very delicate structure like the cornea, we want to remove tissue very precisely without causing any damage to the untreated cornea.

Narrator: Although the treatment costs about two thousand dollars per eye -Hwang says itís an option many are taking. For Science Today, Iím Larissa Branin.