Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone has been enjoying the wonderful fall weather! Last month I attended the American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting in Chicago. I am going to share some exciting research being done overseas on novel approaches to reducing the dependence on reading glasses as we age.
PEARL Treatment for Presbyopia
Presbyopia refers to the gradual loss of the eye’s ability to focus on near objects. This occurs as the lens inside the eye grows more stiff as we age. There is much interest in developing treatments for this condition that would reduce dependence on reading glasses and bifocals.
There are currently two FDA-approved devices for surgically treating presbyopia, the Kamra inlay and the Raindrop inlay. These are both small rings made of synthetic material that are implanted in the cornea (clear window in the front of the eye). To qualify for this procedure, the patients need to have good distance vision without glasses or contacts and have healthy eyes. Potential complications of the procedure are inflammation and scarring around the synthetic device.
A novel treatment for presbyopia called PEARL was presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting last month. In this technique, donor corneal tissue is implanted in the cornea. Since the material is not synthetic, there is less loss of distance vision and reduced risk of severe inflammation in the cornea.
PEARL has only been performed on a small number of patients in India, but larger studies with longer term follow up may show this technique to work well and possibly even be combined with LASIK or other refractive procedures for full vision correction at distance and near.
Source: AAO Annual Meeting, Refractive Surgery Original Papers, Chicago IL October 2016
Michelle Akler, MD
Akler Eye Center
Sterling Heights & Dearborn