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Nov. 23 -- New technology is making Lasik eye surgery possible for a whole new group of patients. As Dr. Dean Edell reports, new advancements mean many more people now qualify for corrective surgery.

A few weeks ago, if Keith walked down Market Street without his glasses, all he'd see was a blur

Keith: "I wouldn't be able to see anything. I wouldn't be able to see signs. I wouldn't be able to know what was going on the street without my glasses and contacts. I was blind."

Dr. Keith Gualderama is an optometrist who fits eyeglasses and contacts all day long so it's a bit surprising he's decided to throw away his glasses and have Lasik eye surgery.

Dr. Keith Gualderama, optometrist & Lasik patient: "It's been about a year since I've been wanting to do this. When I am doing exams, I have to constantly take off my glasses to look at the microscope, at the patient, and now it will be good to look and I don't have to put them on or off."

Until recently he wasn't a candidate for Lasik because his corneas were too thin and his correction too great. But now a new type of wavefront technology is changing that.

Wavefront technology is a more accurate type of Lasik procedure but even it has had limits. It hasn't worked for patients with lots of astigmatism or needing a high degree of correction. Well now a new advancement makes many more patients eligible for cornea corrections.

Ella Faktorovich, M.D., San Francisco ophthalmologist: "The difference is that we can now apply the map to treat patients who have larger refractive errors."

San Francsico opthalmologist Dr. Ella Faktorovich measures Keith's eye with specialized corneal mapping software that is the critical part of advanced wavefront.

Dr. Ella Faktorovich: "We can now correct over 8 diopters of near sightedness and close to 4 diopters of stigmatism."

Another key component is new intralase technology which uses tiny gas bubble to cut a much thinner flap in the cornea.

The combination creates the new advanced wavefront procedure which gives the doctor much more control and accuracy during Lasik surgery. The result? Many more patients have become eligible for safe correction.

Dr. Ella Faktorovich: "In my practice prior to several months ago, 40 percent of patients had wavefront guided laser vision correction. With the approval of the advanced wavefront, over 90 percent of patients can have laser guided vision correction."

Dr. Keith is one of those lucky ones.

And his walk down the street has changed dramatically. He's gone from blurry to crystal clear.

Keith: "I can see people far away. I can read signs. I know where I'm at."

This new technology also significantly reduces the risk of glare and haloes at night which has been a side effect of earlier Lasik surgery.

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