Surgical procedure eliminates need for reading glasses for some

May 26, 2017
Originally published on May 26, 2017 12:57 pm

For decades, LASIK surgery has offered an alternative to eyeglasses for people who have nearsightedness. Now there's a procedure that can correct presbyopia, the condition that has many people over 40 reaching for reading glasses.

"I wear a Fitbit and I used to have to put on my glasses to see my itty bitty step count, and I didn't have to do that this morning, so that was pretty fun," said Mary Griffith of Rochester, one of the first patients to undergo the Raindrop Near Vision Inlay at the University of Rochester's Flaum Eye Institute this week. 

The procedure involves implanting a very thin gel-like device in one eye. Ophthalmologist Dr. Scott McRae said patients have been waiting decades for an option like this.

"It's a quick procedure. It takes about 10 minutes to do; the recovery is pretty quick. Patients are up doing what they normally do the day after surgery. The actual visual recovery is a little bit slower but the patients notice the difference right away that there is a significant change in terms of their near vision."

The procedure is recommended for patients who have very minimal amounts of nearsightedness or farsightedness but still have difficulty reading without glasses. It is not recommended for those who have had LASIK surgery, but McCrae said he wouldn’t be surprised if a modification is developed in the future to allow for that.

The surgery costs about $4,800 and is not covered by health insurance.

Dr. McRae said the device is removable if a patient changes his or her mind for whatever reason. In some cases, he said, patients have to return to their surgeon to have the device repositioned if an adjustment is necessary.