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A Critical Eye Cast on Presby

by Ariel Berschadsky
Wall Street Journal
4/12/01, p. A17

Your March 29 Marketplace article on surgery for presbyopia ("Is End of Reading Glasses in
Sight?") illustrates the same conflicts of interest, hypocrisy, and disregard for patient welfare that
have characterized refractive surgery in this country for the last two decades.

Here we have Dr. Barrie Soloway, who owns nearly $100,000 worth of shares in Presby (the sole
provider of anti-presbyopia implants) yet doesn't feel that his objectivity about presbyopic
surgery is compromised. I hope that his efforts to promote the surgery among his patients will
increase the value of his stockholdings.

Here we have Dr. Jay Pepose, who won't have the surgery performed on himself, but gladly
operates on others as a "clinical investigator." I hope that his prudence in deciding to "wait and
see" will be rewarded by the knowledge gained from his presbyopic guinea pigs.

Here we have Dr. Ron Schacher, himself a 60% owner of Presby, dismissing complaints of his
patient Charles Scatena that post-surgical visual exercises caused him headaches rather than
improved vision with the condescending, "I have more experience than he does." I hope not to
see widespread reports of similar post-operative disasters, lest ophthalmologists be prevented
from joining the financial party and instead have to clean up the surgical mess left behind by
others.

Whether surgery for presbyopia will join the junk heap along with past forms of refractive
surgery such as RK, ALK, and PRK remains to be seen, as will the ultimate cost in terms of
people's eyesight.

Ariel Berschadsky