MIAMI (CBSMIAMI) – It happens to everyone. As we age, the internal lenses of our eyes have a hard time focusing.
“As we get into our mid-40s, everyone whether you had good vision or not when you were young, has that stiffening of the lens that causes vision problems,” explained Dr. Ralph Chu, an ophthalmologist.
The condition is called presbyopia. Its when people like me can see things far away just fine. But when it comes time to read a text message, we can’t do it without reading glasses, said CBS4’s Eliott Rodriguez.
Valerie Martel who lives outside Minneapolis shares my pain.
“I had a whole bunch of those (reading glasses). I had one by the computer at work. I had one at home. I like gourmet cooking, so I had one in the kitchen. I must of had 10 or 15 pairs of those,” said Martel.
But now Valerie has the Raindrop Near Vision Inlay. It’s a tiny implantable contact lens being tested by the FDA.
“If something like this, a corneal inlay, can be approved by the FDA, this will be bigger than lasik in the ophthalmology community,” said Chu.
Like lasik, the surgery requires creating an opening in the cornea. A tiny contact lens, just 2 milimeters in diameter is then placed inside. The procedure takes about 10 minutes. But there are some risks.
“The cornea has to be split open. A little lens has to be put in. Our concerns are will they move or migrate, will they affect the corneal health,” explained Dr. Neal Sher an ophthalmologist.
Its been five years since the first clinical trials on the Raindrop, and so far the results are good.
“We are very optimistic, you never know when it comes to the government, but the results are excellent,” said Chu.
Valerie is happy there’s no more searching for her cheaters.
“Yeah, I’m free! I can read!” exclaimed Martel.
Some European countries have already approved the Raindrop Near Vision Inlay. Clinical trials continue in the United States, and doctors are hoping for FDA approval in about two years.