Corneal microlens implants for near vision correction

No more glasses

During the past few months we’ve been receiving enquiries from patients keen to learn more about a “lens implant to remove reading glasses for $3,000”. This is product is called Presbia Microlens.  

These enquiries are in response to a recent media report out of the Eastern States featuring a “new” type of corneal implant/inlay that promises a pain-free procedure in 12 minutes.

According to the report, this product is suitable for “almost anyone who relies on reading glasses and has good distance vision”; and can produce an immediate improvement to vision, with the full effect taking about three months. It was also reported to cost about $3,000.

Many of the patients who contacted us after the story aired were happy to learn that this type of lens implant only costs about $3,000 and that they may never have to wear reading glasses again.

Unfortunately this is not always the case, as we hope to explain below.

What is Presbyopia?

Presbyopia is a condition where the ability of the eye to change focus (accommodate) deteriorates with age. Some impairment of near vision is usually noticed around the age of 45 and by 55, most patients would be dependent on reading glasses for reading.

While patients are always excited to consider ways to do away with their glasses – just like any eye procedure – we advise people to do their research and ask lots of questions before signing up.

 corneal inlays

What do I need to know about corneal implants/inlays?

Firstly, cornea inlays/implants are not altogether new. In fact, they were first launched in 2010 and there are three main products on the market: Kamra, Presbia Microlens and Raindrop Near Vision Inlay.

Kamra was introduced to the world around seven years ago with a big marketing push and is the most studied corneal inlay product available, with the highest number of patients.

However, two years later there were widespread reports of scarring and changes to the shape of the cornea as healing occurred around the implant. These implants are no longer implanted in Perth. These issues did not affect every patient and some patients are still happy with their Kamra implants.

Corneal inlayPresbia Microlens and Raindrop have had similar issues reported. However, these issues are not as widely presented because many surgeons have opted not to use them following the problems experienced with the first product.

In short, all corneal implants/inlays can induce scarring effects around them due to healing. We see this effect all the time with the hundreds of Kera-ring implants we have implanted.

However, unlike Kera-rings, the cornea implants described above are located in the centre of the cornea directly in the image path. Any hazing effects can cause changes to vision clarity. We advise caution with these implants until the healing/scarring effects can be completely prevented.

Counting the true cost

While the reported product was said to cost approximately $3,000 in the media report, that estimate may not be the true, final cost.

That’s because the estimate covers the cost of implanting the product in one eye only and would rely on the brain adopting to reading mainly through one eye. We would also have to assume that the patient has perfect distance vision and only requires surgery to one eye.

In addition, the estimate does not consider that a laser would be required to make a pocket to insert the implant correctly.

If the patient does not have absolutely perfect vision, then LASIK (at a cost of approximately $6,500 for both eyes) would be required, in addition to, the implant procedure. Therefore, most patients would typically be charged around $9,500 plus the price for two laser cuts to one eye and one cut to the other eye.

Do I have any other options?

At Aculase we are committed to delivering the highest level of care to all of our patients and are proud to be the leaders in laser eye surgery in Perth. We only commit to products and services that have been proven to be safe and effective.

For a patient with presbyopia, we may consider ways to achieve blended vision (one eye reading and one eye distance), resulting in a similar result to the corneal implants but using LASIK or SMILE alone.

Blended LASIK has been performed successfully for over 20 years, would typically cost around $6,500 and would avoid the need for implants altogether.

Another option is to consider trifocal lens implants inside the eye – which offer binocular reading and better performance. It costs around $11,000 for both eyes so it is worth discussing alternative treatments with your eye surgeon.

Want to learn more? We are always happy to discuss the best options for your eye care. Why not give us a call on (08) 9388 1828 or get in touch with us on (right column) to see how Aculase can help enhance your vision?

Aculase Laser Eye Surgery Video Click 3

  • Text Size