Ophthalmology: Icy Cure

Cryotherapy — literally, treatment by extreme cold — is particularly valuable in ophthalmology. It has already destroyed eye tumors, removed cataracts and sealed lesions in the retina. Now Dr. John Bellows of Northwestern University reports that it is highly effective in the treatment of a viral infection of the eye called herpetic keratitis.

The same virus that causes simple cold sores on the lip—herpesvirus—can also attack the surface of the eye; if unchecked, it can do damage that will scar the cornea, resulting in partial or complete blindness. The best treatment has hitherto proved successful in only 60% of cases, and...

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