If you often find yourself reaching for your reading glasses to see the small print on labels or your medication, you might be interested in a new technology trying to make its way to the US market. Eye doctors and researchers are working on an implant (KAMRA) that would act as an artificial pupil.
The KAMRA corneal implant would use a laser to make a small incision in the front of the cornea where a flexible donut-shaped ring would be inserted. This would help the pliability of our eye lenses, which can harden as we age. With 1 in 5 Americans needing reading glasses or bifocals to see up close, this would be an attractive alternative to LASIK surgery. The results of the surgery are nearly immediate and it is far less complicated or invasive as LASIK.
Ophthalmologist Thomas Henderson, M.D. says, “There are many new approaches to reading vision without glasses. This approach, by adding this KAMRA or one of several other different devices under a LASIK flap, should work very well for many patients who have had standard cataract surgery in the past and want increased freedom from the ‘tyranny of reading glasses.’ As with any surgery, there are compromises inherent in the choice as well as the possibility of less than desired results and rare complications. These should be carefully considered before making a decision for any operation.”
Although KAMRA has been used in Europe since 2011, it has not yet been approved by the FDA. While the FDA advisory panel determined the device was effective – giving it a 7 to 1 favorable vote – they were not sold on its safety. In a study of 478 patients using the device, they were concerned that some patients had vision problems after the inlays were removed.
Photo courtesy of John Vukich.