Eye surgery: implant replaces reading glasses
Glasses could possibly be replaced by an eye implant in the future. The use of a wafer-thin artificial pinhole in the cornea of the eye directly in front of the pupil can correct the so-called presbyopia, explained the chairman of the Federal Association of German Ophthalmic Surgeons (DOC), Armin Scharrer, on the occasion of the 25th International Congress of German Ophthalmic Surgeons.
At the DOC congress from June 14 to 16, the new method of eye implants is to be presented to a larger group of ophthalmologists for the first time in order to then force the use in practice. Armin Scharrer describes the successes to date that 5,000 people worldwide have regained their visual acuity with the help of so-called Kamra implants. With the artificial 3.8 millimeter pinhole, the depth of field can be restored with presbyopia, making glasses unnecessary.
Eye implants also approved in Germanyen
The eye implant or Kamra inlay is basically a tiny plastic pinhole that is inserted into the cornea in front of the pupil. In the course of the operation, the ophthalmologist uses a laser to remove a wafer-thin slice of the outer corneal layer and then carefully implant the "Kamra lens" over the pupil into the corneal tissue. By embedding it in the cornea, the implant adheres practically “as if by itself - like a body's own plaster,” continues Scharrer. In the course of the intervention, it was not even necessary to sew. Inserted in front of the pupil, the 3.8 millimeter "Kamra lens" acts as a kind of pinhole, which reduces the opening and thus restores depth of field with presbyopia. Patients can do without reading glasses, reports the DOC chairman. In Germany, the new procedure with the Kamra implant has already been approved for the treatment of patients and has been practiced since the beginning of the year, explained Scharrer.
Eye implants not suitable for all patients Because of the successes so far with the eye implants, the experts here in Germany also rely on the increased use of the Kamra inlays. At the DOC congress, the possibilities of the new procedure should therefore be presented to a wide range of ophthalmologists. Around 5,000 eye surgeons, specialists, physicians and other experts are expected to attend the congress in Nuremberg. However, the limits of the new technology are also on the program at the annual DOC conference. Because, as Armin Scharrer emphasized, the eye implants are far from suitable for all patients. As a rule, the intervention only makes sense from the age of 50, since farsightedness also only occurs in old age. In addition, "a healthy, sufficiently thick cornea" is a prerequisite for the operation, Scharrer continues. "There must be neither degeneration nor corneal dystrophy (corneal emplacement)," emphasized the chairman of the Federal Association of German Ophthalmic Surgeons. In general, the Kamra implants were associated with astonishingly few side effects in patients who had previously undergone surgery. Almost all of them would have tolerated the eye implant well.
New procedure for eye implants also has disadvantages No support is to be expected from health insurance companies when deciding on an appropriate operation. Patients have to pay around 2,000 euros for the procedure out of their own pocket. The eye implants also have a slight disadvantage when looking into the distance. According to the DOC chairman, the image is somewhat darker and less clear due to the artificial pinhole. For this reason, the Kamra lens is only used in one eye. Before the procedure, the eye surgeons determine which eye is the dominant in the visual process and implant the lens specifically into the non-dominant eye. In this way, the positive effects of the eye implant should be made possible without causing extensive impairments to the eyesight. (fp)
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