What’s the first thing to go with the increasing age? The eyesight and usually there isn’t much that can be done about it except to wear spectacles most of the time while hoping that it doesn’t degrade more. However, scientists have come with a new methodology to phase out the reading glasses by introducing the ‘Raindrop’ inlay that is carefully placed beneath the cornea and works by reversing vision problems that come with increasing age.
The idea is to make use of this painless approach to fight a medical condition known as presbyopia that slowly takes away our ability to be able to focus on objects that are up close as we grow older.
This particular medical condition is common among people who are above 40 years old and is one of the major reasons why people in that age group are forced to purchase reading glasses. The technique was coined in America but has made its way all the way to the Atlantic and currently is being used at Space Healthcare in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.
It is hoped that it could be used to replace the laser surgery that has been considered the only long-term treatment although it still renders some patients unable to read in dim light without their reading glasses. As compared to the laser surgery, the Raindrop requires only 10 minutes (laser surgery can go on for about an hour).
The eyes are kept conscious during the procedure by making use of Anesthetic drops during which the implant is placed under a flap of the cornea. The implant works by changing the shape of the cornea and hence corrects the near-medium vision by making the central section steeper. A school bursar from Staffordshire by the name of Lynda Marenghi who is 57 years old was the first patient in Britain to take this procedure and in her own words; ‘It was driving me mad, having to hold books further and further away from me and squinting to try to read them. It felt like my arms were too short and I was diagnosed with presbyopia – losing my near sight. ‘It’s an age-related thing and meant I had to wear glasses more and more which was awful because, being a school bursar, I have to deal with a lot of close work and spreadsheets on computers.’
The procedure costs £2,495, however, it is still not available on the NHS. Mark Wevill is an ophthalmic surgeon who has carried out a procedure on quite some patients and says; ‘’Raindrop can’t stop eyes from ageing. But it can help deterioration in eyesight caused by the ageing process. The new procedure offers hope to the 32million spectacle wearers in the UK and could reduce the £2.7billion a year spent on optical products – including contact lenses.’