Minn. Doctor, Patient Part of Nat'l Study to Treat Eye Disease

Updated: 11/15/2012 7:52 AM KSTP.com By: Tim Sherno

A Minnesota doctor is one of just a few nationally conducting a clinical trial of a procedure that treats a degenerative eye disease.

The disease is called Keratoconus, and it causes deterioration of the cornea which left untreated can lead to blindness. As the cornea weakens, it changes shape from round and flat to conical which then impacts vision. Current treatments include hard glass contact lenses, which can be effective for a time. But as the eye changes shape contacts can become difficult to fit and wear forcing patients to undergo corneal transplant surgery.

Dr. Ralph Chu from the Chu Vision Institute in Bloomington is one of just 40 doctors conducting the clinical trial. The treatment uses special eye drops that are then activated by an ultraviolet light. Once activated, the drops strengthen the cornea and halt the progression of the disease.

Twenty-year-old Jacob Matheson was diagnosed with Keratoconus a few years ago and has begun treatments as part of the clinical trial. 

A fund has been established to help offset the costs of the procedure. A donation may be made at any Central Bank location. or contact Central Bank at 1650 South Lake St, P.O. Box 638 Forest Lake, MN 55025. Or call 615-982-2019.