The cornea is the clear surface of the eye. The cornea may not seem like much, but it is actually a complex tissue made up of several layers, each with its own important job. The cornea is surprisingly resilient to minor injury considering how delicate the tissue may seem. However, the cornea is susceptible to many different conditions and diseases. The cornea is also responsible for the refractive power in our eyes. The shape of the cornea directly affects our ability to focus light into the eye.
As we age, our eyes begin to change just like the rest of our bodies. Some changes are unavoidable. One of these changes is called presbyopia. Presbyopia is an age-related refractive error that usually begins to develop around age 40. Presbyopia is characterized by the decline of near vision – meaning it becomes difficult to see anything up close, even if you’ve never had issues with it before. Reading and doing any detail work can become very difficult, and you may find yourself relying on reading glasses. Until recently, presbyopia has only been managed through the use of reading glasses. Now, there are options.
Dr. Carter was part of an FDA clinical trial for the brand new Raindrop® corneal inlay for presbyopia, approved in June of 2016. This 15-minute procedure is used to improve near vision in those with presbyopia, reducing or eliminating the need for reading glasses. The Raindrop® corneal inlay is a tiny, clear circular implant that looks much like a very small contact lens. The Raindrop® inlay is implanted just beneath the surface of the cornea. This tiny device is 2 millimeters in diameter (about the size of a pinhead) and is less then half the thickness of a human hair. The Raindrop® corneal inlay is not felt or seen once in place. The Raindrop® inlay is made up of a water based material called hydrogel plastic, which is commonly used in soft contact lenses, and has optical characteristics that are very similar to that of the human cornea.
Dr. Carter will start by creating a laser-cut flap on the surface of the cornea. The Raindrop® corneal inlay is then placed under the surface of the cornea. The inlay is only placed in the patient’s non-dominant eye. Once in place, the Raindrop® corneal inlay gently changes the shape of the cornea. The surface of the cornea then acts much like a multifocal contact lens. The Raindrop® corneal inlay procedure has been proven to be extremely effective in improving near vision. If you have presbyopia and would like to talk a Carter Eye Center doctor about your options, call us today!