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Corneal inlays need a boost from eye care providers

12 January 2018

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John A. Hovanesian, MD, FACS, focuses his blog on real-world comanagement cases with valuable take-home messages. Dr. Hovanesian is a specialist in cornea, external ocular disease and refractive and cataract surgery with Harvard Eye Associates in Laguna Hills, Calif., a clinical instructor at UCLA Jules Stein Eye Institute and a member of the Primary Care Optometry 

The Raindrop corneal inlay from ReVision Optics and the AcuFocus Kamra corneal inlay have been implanted in thousands of eyes.

Ninety-five percent of patients with these devices report being quite satisfied, according to surveys, and virtually all implanting surgeons report they would recommend the procedures to their colleagues.

Personally, I have implanted corneal inlays in two close friends. One received the Raindrop about 3 years ago as part of the FDA study, and the other received the Kamra more recently. I regularly hear from both of them about how much they enjoy their freedom from glasses and their ability to be the only one at the restaurant table to read the menu without glasses.

This is an exciting time in keratorefractive surgery. We have a booming generation of millennials who are interested in this type of procedure and an even larger swelling population of presbyopic baby boomers who need near vision correction. Both the SMILE procedure (Zeiss) and these new inlays offer platforms for future development that will take us beyond the capabilities of LASIK and PRK.

But it is not enough that companies develop these technologies. Surgeons have to learn to adopt them, and optometrists must recommend them, for our science to move forward. This takes effort and investment. Adding procedures to the ophthalmologist’s skill set takes us away from our routine and tests our surgical skill, but these are very learnable procedures, building upon skills learned in LASIK. The added equipment is minimal, and the excitement generated by offering a new procedure is very good for our practices.

Most of all, these procedures are extremely gratifying. My faith in the technology that drove me to offer them to personal friends has been rewarded, and I certainly hope every eye care provider will give these new technologies a chance to improve the lives of their own patients.

Disclosure: Hovanesian reports he is a consultant for Zeiss, ReVision Optics and AcuFocus.

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