The Benefits of Raindrop Near Vision Inlay
Jul 26, 2017 02:00PM ● Published by Cate Reynolds
Readers vs.True Vision
By Lisa J. Gotto
It’s a fact of life that is probably easier for some to accept than others. And it happens to the best of us. Usually, it’s a slow process but at some point, primarily after age 40, you start noticing that you are struggling to make out all the letters in a text or having to enter a phone number “from scratch” isn’t so automatic anymore.
I knew when I reached for my first pair of “readers,” as cute and trendy as they were, that I was taking the first step down a slippery slope away from 20/20 vision. What started out with one pair of stylish black +1.00 strength frames has now evolved to at least a half-dozen pairs of readers located all over the house and office in every strength from that +1.00 to +2.25. The most frustrating aspect—having to have that seventh pair, or sun readers, for enjoying a day at the beach—and then you still have to constantly switch back and forth from those, to the regular readers or sunglasses, to no glasses at all in non-reading situations.
About a decade ago I started seeing ads for a procedure that sounded like a good fallback plan for when I finally got fed up with all of that switching and searching. It was for people like me who had 20/20 vision all their lives but needed the assistance of reading glasses after age 45.
While these “CK” or Conductive Keratoplasty procedures were popular and helped reduce the need for reading glasses for many, they did not offer a long lasting option for patients with presbyopia.
Today, there is another option for addressing vision loss that comes with aging and it offers a different approach, according to Dr. Maria Scott of Chesapeake Eye Care & Laser Center.
Presbyopia: farsightedness caused by loss of elasticity of the lens of the eye, occurring typically in middle and old age._________________________________________________________________________
“Unlike other procedures in the past that reshaped the cornea using radio frequency, the Raindrop® Near Vision Inlay is a tiny, transparent disc, approximately the size of a pinhead, that is inserted into the cornea,” Scott explains. “It is comprised of about 80 percent water and a synthetic material similar to that of a soft contact lens.”
The procedure works by changing the central curvature of the cornea. The insertion of the Inlay is a long lasting remedy for near and intermediate vision loss due to presbyopia.
“With previous procedures, the results were temporary and patients needed reading glasses in the future,” Scott says.
Once you are determined to be a good candidate for this procedure an ophthalmologist will implant a removable contact lens into your non-dominant eye for a brief trial to make sure the vision change is tolerable. If you adjust well to the trial and schedule to have the Raindrop procedure, you will be required to use a steroid eye drop for two days prior to surgery.
Stats: Approximately 1/3 of the U.S. population (328 million) has presbyopia. Out of that number, approximately 21 million fit the profile of people who could benefit from the Raindrop procedure—people with a refractive range of -0.5 D to +1.0 D._________________________________________________________________________
“On the day of surgery, patients will be given numbing eye drops in the operative eye, which is the non-dominant eye,” says Scott. “During the procedure, which should only take about 10 minutes, the patient may feel pressure, but should not feel any pain.”
With the use of a laser similar to that used for LASIK, a surgeon will create a flap in the cornea. Once the flap is created, the Raindrop Near Vision Inlay is inserted into the middle layer of the cornea. The surgeon then replaces the flap and the procedure is complete. Stitches are not typically required. You will, however, need a driver the day of your visit to bring you home.
For optimal post procedure healing the following is required:
• You will be required to wear an eye shield at night for one week to ensure that you are not rubbing your eyes while sleeping, which could move the flap and affect proper healing.
• You will be prescribed steroid and antibiotic eye drops, as well as artificial tears for the operative eye to reduce the risk of infection, inflammation and dry eye.
• Your surgical team will provide you with a list of restrictions to help ensure proper healing, which include: not rubbing the eye, playing sports, exercising, swimming, gardening, smoking, and wearing make-up. You should also avoid dusty environments for at least one week following the procedure.
In most cases, patients may return to normal activities with the exception of the restrictions, the day following surgery. You can expect to be scheduled for a series of post-operative visits including an appointment the day after surgery, one week later, one month, and every six months thereafter.
Side effects of the procedure are minimal, but may include dry eye, infection, glare or corneal scarring.
In addition to the convenience of reading without glasses, Scott says the Raindrop procedure is also beneficial for its flexibility when it comes to future treatment of other eye conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma.
“If a patient develops cataracts the Raindrop can remain in the eye and the doctor can perform cataract surgery as normal with a distance only lens or the Raindrop can be removed and the cataract can be replaced with an advanced intraocular lens. This is the same with glaucoma patients. Raindrop can remain in the eye, but if glaucoma becomes severe, Raindrop can be removed.”
While health insurance does not cover the cost of the procedure, some practices like Scott’s do offer payment plans, and when you consider the flexibility and long-term convenience offered by the procedure it could help with your decision to ditch your readers.
And if you haven’t started using readers yet, Scott predicts the chances are good that you will at some point.
“Everyone—yes, everyone—will eventually develop presbyopia.”