If you are over the age of 40, you’ve probably noticed your vision has changed. Maybe you are having difficulty reading or trouble focusing on nearby objects. This condition is called age-related presbyopia, also known as “over-40 vision.” The good news: The doctors at Mann Eye Institute can help.
Corneal Inlay Procedure
The Corneal Inlay (sometimes called a corneal implant) is a tiny, ring-shaped disc that is placed securely within the cornea of one eye, allowing the eye to have greater depth of focus and greatly improving reading vision, while maintaining distance vision.
Smaller and thinner than the average contact lens, the Corneal Inlay is just 3.8 mm in diameter and has a 1.6 mm opening in the center (pinhole). Surrounding the pinhole are 8,400 tiny openings that allow oxygen and other nutrients to flow naturally through the eye.
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How Does the Corneal Inlay Procedure Work?
Performed in office, the corneal inlay is implanted into the cornea of the non-dominant eye, several layers above the pupil, in a layer called the stroma. The inlay uses the same “pinhole effect” that is used in cameras to create a greater depth of focus. The small opening in the corneal inlay allows only focused light to enter the eye, significantly improving near vision, also called reading vision.
What to Expect the Day of the Procedure
On the day of the procedure, your Mann Eye Institute surgeon will administer numbing drops into the eye that will receive the inlay to ensure you are comfortable, as you will remain awake and alert throughout the procedure.
The first step of the procedure is the same as LASIK – the creation of the corneal flap. Once the eye is numb, your surgeon will use a laser to create a small flap in the first few layers of the cornea to create a “pocket” for the inlay.
Then, your surgeon will insert the inlay under the flap and center it over the pupil. The flap will naturally self-seal. The procedure is virtually painless (although you may feel slight pressure) and takes less than 20 minutes.
What to Expect Immediately After the Procedure
As with any surgery, a recovery period should be expected. Immediately following the Corneal Inlay Procedure, you will not be permitted to drive, so be sure you bring someone with you who can drive you home when you are finished.
Each case is unique, but most patients resume normal activities and are able to return to work within 24 to 48 hours. Note: Your doctor might tell you not to wear your reading glasses in order to enhance recovery and near vision improvement.
Be sure to listen to your doctor’s instructions and follow them closely to promote optimal healing. Finish all medications, including any ocular lubricant (such as artificial tears), which should be used as your doctor recommends.
Keep all follow-up appointments to be sure your procedure is progressing as expected.
What to Expect in the Future
Your vision may fluctuate for the first three to six months as your brain is adjusting to your new, improved vision, but don’t worry; it will stabilize. Some patients have reported no need for glasses after their Corneal Inlay Procedure, while others still use reading glasses in some instances such as in low-light situation or if print is very small.
If there are any problems with the corneal inlay, it can be easily and safely removed. If in a rare instance removal must happen, patients normally return to the same quality of vision they had prior to the insertion of the inlay.