Never Fear, Squinting 40-Somethings: There's 10-Minute Eye Surgery

Corneal inlays give quick, removable hope to those with presbyopia
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 1, 2017 7:41 PM CST
Never Fear, Squinting 40-Somethings: There's 10-Minute Eye Surgery
In this photo taken Feb. 1, 2017, ophthalmologist Dr. Shilpa Rose, left, looks over data collected on the health of the eye of Christianne Krupinsky, before a short procedure to insert a Raindrop inlay, a disc implanted in the cornea to reshape it for better close-up focus.   (Andrew Harnik)

Squinting while texting? Always losing reading glasses? An eye implant that takes about 10 minutes to put in is the newest surgical repair for the blurry close-up vision that is a bane of middle age, reports the AP. But who's a good candidate to toss their specs? "It's not bringing anybody back to being 20 again," cautioned Dr. Shilpa Rose, a Washington ophthalmologist. "But it decreases the need to rush to get that pair of reading glasses every time you want to send a text." Nearly everybody will experience presbyopia, usually starting in the mid-40s. The usual options are magnifying drugstore reading glasses or, for people with other vision problems, bifocals, multifocal contact lenses or what's called monovision, correcting for distance vision in one eye and near vision in the other. "I have glasses everywhere—the bedroom, the office, the kitchen," said Christianne Krupinsky, 51, of Marriottsville, Md.

Minutes after surgery, Krupinsky read lines on a chart she previously couldn't make out without glasses, albeit still a little blurry. Corneal inlays are removable, gel-like devices that look like a miniature contact lens. The Raindrop is the first implant to treat presbyopia by changing the cornea's shape, making it steeper to alter how light passes through. The FDA approved the Raindrop last summer based on a study in which 92% of participants had good near vision, 20/40 or better without glasses, in the implanted eye two years later. About 7% had the implant removed, because they weren't satisfied or experienced a clouding. Another FDA-approved inlay, the Kamra, is a doughnut-shaped device and works like a pinhole camera, improving vision by focusing light through the center of the pupil. The Raindrop hasn't been studied in those who've undergone LASIK surgery, but "everything is very clear and getting better every day," said one such patient after a month. (More presbyopia stories.)

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