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Out of Options

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The SightTrust Eye Institute in Sunrise is one of the first in the nation implanting the ARTIFLEX Toric Lens. The SightTrust Eye Institute in Sunrise is one of the first in the nation implanting the ARTIFLEX Toric Lens.

In the past, if you weren't a candidate for laser eye surgery, you were stuck with glasses or contacts. Tonight, 7's Diana Diaz shows us a new alternative for people who are "Out of Options."

WSVN -- Devon Spaulding has dealt with the hassle of glasses and contact lens since kindergarten.

Devon Spaulding: "Always been a pain. Always had to deal with something in my eye."

Devon is nearsighted and also has astigmatism, which distorts the shape of the eye. It's caused him double trouble.

Devon Spaulding: "Having the astigmatism and the nearsightedness definitely added to the price of the contacts, the different types of lenses."

The 26-year-old wanted to get LAZIK surgery, but doctors said he was not a candidate because of the shape of his eye.

Devon Spaulding: "I was very disappointed. I was like, 'What am I going to do now?'"

Fortunately, Devon did have another option: an implantable contact lens. Dr. Andrew Shatz at SightTrust Eye Institute in Sunrise is one of the first in the nation implanting the ARTIFLEX Toric Lens.

Dr. Andrew Shatz: "Not only does it fix nearsightedness, but fixes astigmatism."

Even though the lens is not yet FDA approved, Dr. Shatz was given rare permission to implant the lens in certain patients.

Dr. Andrew Shatz: "We got what is called the compassionate use exemption from the FDA. The patients that I'm using this on, have no options. They can't have laser vision correction; they are no longer able to tolerate the contact lenses."

Patients are sedated, and the foldable lens is slid through a very tiny incision.

Dr. Andrew Shatz: "It's so small, in fact, that it closes up on its own, without having to use stitches. Stitches is what causes slow healing. The recovery from this is very fast."

The lens is implanted over the iris and can easily be removed if needed. The best part: Vision is corrected immediately.

Dr. Andrew Shatz: "The people we've implanted with this particular lens, they've all become 20/20 vision almost immediately, day one."

Dr. Shatz is hoping to recruit local patients so he can move forward with a study for FDA approval.

Dr. Andrew Shatz :"What we're hoping to do is to recruit enough individuals to create a multi-center study. The lens is very, very safe. It's been used for decades."

Devon says when he opened up his eyes after surgery, he saw a whole new world.

Devon Spaulding: "Kinda hesitated to open my eye just to kind of see what was going on, and as soon as I opened, I could see and I just started giggling. It was really an amazing feeling."

The procedure is not cheap. It can cost about $5,000 an eye, almost double that of LAZIK. Diana Diaz, 7News.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

ARTIFLEX Toric Lens
Dr. Andrew Shatz
SightTrust Eye Institute
1601 Sawgrass Corporate Pkwy, Suite 430
Sunrise, FL 33323
(877) 878-7890

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