Vision Problems: Eye Implant May Correct Age-Related Presbyopia, Delay The Need For Reading Glasses

If you’re lucky enough to have 20/20 vision, you will most likely say goodbye to that perfect eyesight as you age. According to the American Optometric Association, you can look forward to having trouble seeing at close distances once hitting your mid-40s. Known as presbyopia, the condition worsens over time.

Instead of squinting or keeping track of your reading glasses, a 10 minute surgical procedure could help improve reading vision. The operation works by inserting a small inlay, similar to contact lenses, into the cornea, writes All About Vision. Healing time varies and can range from days to weeks, depending on the person.

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"It's not bringing anybody back to being 20 again," Dr. Shilpa Rose, a Washington ophthalmologist, tells MedicalXpress. "But it decreases the need to rush to get that pair of reading glasses every time you want to send a text or read an email."

Smaller than the eye of a needle, the Raindrop was the second implantable corneal device approved by the FDA and the first to treat presbyopia by changing the cornea's shape. The implant was tested on 474 people in a clinical trial, and two years after implantation, 92 percent reported 20/40 vision or better at close distances. Of course, there are possible side effects like infection, dry eye, glare, or scarring.

Another popular option, the Karma, works like a pinhole camera and improves vision by focusing light through the center of the pupil, reports MedicalXpress.

More invasive options are available to restore vision, too. Symfony is used for cataract surgery but is also a solution for presbyopia. The operation involves replacing the natural eye lens with an artificial one.  

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As the surgeries are elective, insurance does not cover the cost. MedicalXpress estimates the inlays cost about $4,000 to $5,000, and the artificial lens may be double.

See Also:

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