Could you imagine throwing away your glasses forever? Well, more than 1 billion people affected by blurriness in near vision could be tossing their glasses in the bin if corneal implants called the KAMRA, currently under review by the US FDA, gets traction.
The condition of near sightedness or “ageing eyes” is called Presbyopia and occurs as people age, as the cornea becomes less flexible and bends in such a way that it becomes difficult to see up close. Currently, the most common treatment for Presbyopia is glasses, but all that could be about to change.
Reading glasses could become something that today’s children look back on as “olden day” items.
A study released this week at the American Academy of Ophthalmology showcased a number of corneal inlay devices that are currently being reviewed that improved near vision well enough for 80 percent of patients to read a newspaper without disturbing their long distance vision.
One of the devices that everyone is talking about is being called a KAMRA inlay. The KAMRA inlay is a thin, flexible donut-shaped ring that measures 3.8 millimetres in diameter with a 1.6 millimetre hole in the middle. It is dropped into a small pocket in the cornea on the front of the eye. The device acts like a camera aperture, adjusting the depth of field so the viewer can see near and far. In theory, the device is incredibly desireable as it should stop everyone from having to put on and take off their glasses.
And it is not a difficult procedure to implant the device either. It requires only topical anaesthesia in a process that takes about 10 minutes.
The study presented at the conference looked at a non-randomised study of 507 patients between 45 and 60 years in the United States, Europe and Asia with presbyopia who were not nearsighted. The researchers implanted the ring in the patients and followed up with them over the course of three years. In 83 percent of eyes with the implant, the KAMRA corneal inlay allowed presbyopic patients to see with 20/40 vision or better over the three years. This is considered the standard for being able to read a newspaper or drive a vehicle without corrective lenses. On average, patients gained 2.9 lines on a reading chart. The researchers report that the results remained steady over a three-year period.
Complications from corneal inlays in general have included haziness that is treatable with steroids; however, improvements in inlay design have made the effect less common. If necessary, inlays can be removed, making it a reversible treatment, unlike other procedures such as LASIK for presbyopia.
“This is a solution that truly delivers near vision that transitions smoothly to far distance vision,” said John Vukich, M.D., author of the poster and a clinical adjunct professor in ophthalmology and vision sciences at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. “Corneal inlays represent a great opportunity to improve vision with a safety net of removability.”
The device is sold in regions including Asia, Europe and South America, but is not yet approved by the FDA for use in the United States. There are two other types of corneal inlays, Raindrop Near Vision Inlay and Presbia Flexivue Microlens, also in development for the U.S. market.
Do you have presbyopia or blurred vision? Would you consider the KAMRA inlay? How would it change your life? Tell us below.