CALIFORNIA --New technology has allowed doctors to develop a remarkable procedure for treating cataract patients - including those who are relatively younger, like Christopher "Kid" Reid of the '90s hip-hop duo Kid 'n Play.
Reid, 52, who continues to tour, found that suffering from cataracts made it difficult for him to perform in concert.
"When you're onstage you want to be careful because you don't want to end up offstage," he said with a smile, sitting in the Westlake Village, California office of eye surgeon Dr. Paul Dougherty.
Cataracts are proteins that lump together, causing clouding in the eye's lens. And, while the diagnosis is typically associated with seniors, it can occur much earlier, in patients who are in their 40s and 50s. Cumulative sun exposure and smoking are known risk factors.
Reid is also nearsighted - a condition that increases the risk developing cataracts, according to experts.
Dougherty recently treated Reid with cutting-edge technology that involves no incisions: The eye lens is removed completely, using lasers, and replaced with a high-tech implant.
"We're going to try to get him back to the '90s," Dougherty said. "It's an implant called the soft-tech HD. It has an increased range of accommodation, or increased range of focus."
While most eye surgeons operate on one eye at a time, Reid had both of his eyes treated during the same operation.
To reduce the risk of infection, Dougherty did not rely on traditional antibiotic eye drops.
"There's an issue with compliance," the doctor said, "and we know if we're injecting the medication that the patient will be compliant."
The morning after the procedure, Reid awoke with 20/20 vision - a significant improvement from previously being legally blind.
"Do not kid and play with your eyes," he said as a word of advice. "We need these."