DOH denies introduction of presbyopia treatment


TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Department of Health (DOH) categorically denied media reports yesterday that it had approved the import of laser equipment to correct presbyopia and that clinical trials were expected to begin in Taiwan by December.

Shih Chung liang, director of the DOH’s Bureau of Medical Affairs, said he had not signed any document approving the import of laser vision-correction machines for the treatment of presbyopia.

If no such equipment was being imported, how could clinical trials begin in December, Shih asked.

Similarly, Pei-weng Tu, a senior specialist with the DOH’s Food and Drug Administration, said that no individual or company had filed an application permit for laser vision-correction equipment for treatment of the condition.

Moreover, no existing laser vision correction equipment in use in Taiwan had added a function for treatment of presbyopia, Tu said.

Their comments came in response to a foreign wire-service report Wednesday that laser surgery, presently used for treatment of short-sightedness, was being tested as a cure for presbyopia, a long-sightedness that develops with age. If successful, it could dramatically reduce the need for reading glasses.

Findings of the latest research, from three laboratories in Europe and the United States, would be presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s annual conference this week, the report stated.