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Vitamin B, UV Light Used to Correct Cornea Condition Called Keratoconus

It’s a condition that affects your vision and up until now major surgery was the only way to treat it.  A new procedure is saving people’s sight.

“I've always had perfect vision,” said Jesus De Barros.

De Barros was driving to work when his world suddenly changed.

“I looked to my right and I see all the traffic signs are blurry and I started freaking out," said De Barros.

His right eye wouldn’t focus.

“So in order to see something it has to be really close up to the eye,” said De Barros.

De Barros was finally diagnosed with keratoconus.

“Kerato means cornea, conus means cone,” explained Inna Ozerov, M.D., a surgical ophthalmologist at Miami Eye Institute.

Ozerov said one in 2,000 people in the United States have this condition.

“The clear part of the eye, the dome-shaped structure of the eye, the cornea, starts to lose its shape and become deformed,” explained Ozerov.

That causes serious vision problems. As the cornea becomes thinner, vision gets worse.

Ozerov said, “Patients ended up needing corneal transplant surgery because that was the only option that was available to them.”

Until now that is. The FDA recently approved a procedure called collagen cross-linking.

“I essentially remove the top layer of the cornea,” detailed Ozerov.

Then she uses a liquid form of Vitamin B and a dose of ultraviolet light to stiffen the cornea.

“Therefore it doesn't allow the cornea to deform further,” said Ozerov. “In some patients it can even improve their vision.”

The recovery is much faster. A few days after the procedure, De Barros was back to work and driving.

“Eyesight is pretty much what I had before which is great,” said De Barros.

Doctors said the earlier this condition is caught the better the chance treatment can help -- so screening is critical. For more information on this condition and procedure log onto miamieyesurgeon.com.

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