The End of Reading Glasses? New Eye Implants May Indicate So
Reading glasses: the bane of your existence if you require them to read small print. It’s pretty much a rule that you have multiple pairs stored in every possible location in your home, car, and on your person. You need them to read text on the computer, to read your phone, and to check the labels of items at the grocery store. Everyone who has reading glasses knows what it’s like to be in a situation where you have to read something, but misplaced your glasses or didn’t bring any with you. All that struggling to find reading glasses may soon be over, because scientists recently developed implants that could help completely eliminate the need for reading glasses.
What is it?
The FDA has just approved two new devices to fix vision loss that occurs with aging, such as presbyopia, a stiffening of the lens that damages vision. The new implants, KAMRA and Raindrop, are placed in only one eye, while the other eye is used for distance vision. Right now, people who wear contacts and glasses cannot get either implant, though they may opt for LASIK and then receive the implants.
How does it work?
The Raindrop implant “works differently by reshaping the cornea. Unlike the other implants, this one is made of hydrogel (a soft material used in many contact lenses), which is similar in water content to the cornea itself.” A small laser is used to make a section in the cornea where the device can be inserted and in about five minutes the procedure is completed. Within fifteen minutes, vision begins to improve.
The KAMRA implant functions a little differently. KAMRA “is a doughnut shaped ring that constricts the field of vision to help create better sight at near range, similar to how a pinhole camera works.” This implant is inserted into the non-dominant eye in a procedure that takes about fifteen minutes.
Possible complications and results?
Hundreds of clinical studies have been done, but few people have received these implants outside of those studies. While the procedures are now approved and available to the public, it’s unlikely to immediately take off in high demand because insurance doesn’t cover the procedure and it costs around $5,000. Though, as the procedure continues to produce results, it may become more affordable and common.
As with all surgical operations, the risk of complications exists. Frequent complaints following implantation include dry eyes, the feeling something is stuck in the eye, and the risk of infection. Luckily, these implants can be easily removed, so if something goes wrong, the implant can be taken out and the patient can go back to using reading glasses.