Is It Time To Toss the Readers?
Is It Time To Toss the Readers?
FDA Approved First Surgery To Correct “Reading Problem”
Are you over the age of 45? Did you have great distance vision for most of your life? Are you tired of your reading glasses?
If the answer to those questions is “Yes”, you may be a candidate for conductive keratoplasty, also known as “CK”, which is the first and only surgical procedure approved by the FDA to improve near vision for those who suffer from presbyopia, the age-related need for reading glasses for close tasks that occurs for most people in their mid-forties.
Nearly 90 million baby boomers in the U.S. alone are now presbyopic. About half of this group only need glasses for reading but see perfectly well in the distance without glasses. For years now, these people have watched millions of others who wore glasses for distance undergo the life changing LASIK procedure. They often asked, “When was there going to be something for them?”
Conductive keratoplasty uses radio frequency energy to heat and reshape the cornea in several spots on the cornea. There is no cutting of tissue and no laser involved as there is with the LASIK procedure. It is safe, simple, effective and valuable. Oftentimes, it is only necessary to operate on only one eye, the non-dominant eye.
If you are interested in leaving the house and not having to worry about forgetting your readers, reading a menu, seeing your watch, the odometer, the price tag, or the computer screen without readers, CK may be for you. However, if you need to be able to see very fine detail, such as small maps, and the smallest print on a pill bottle, CK may not deliver. You have to have realistic expectations in order to pursue CK. If you are expecting miracles, like reading again as if you were 15 years old, you need not apply.
So how does CK differ from LASIK? Your distance vision is based on the shape of your eye. After a certain age, this is not likely to change much. The LASIK procedure, which addresses problems with distance vision, leads to a long lasting result because the shape of the eye is not likely to change. The only thing that could make the result of LASIK change is the development of cataracts or other eye ailments that might affect the refractive error in the eye at a later age.
Some patients over the age of forty that pursue LASIK opt to pursue the “monovision” option. Having monovision means correcting the dominant eye fully for distance and correcting the non-dominant eye for near. This option is very successful in patients who already have a refractive error and wear glasses for distance. It has not been successful for those patients who have never worn glasses at all until their mid forties when they needed reading glasses.
While CK seems to achieve similar results as monovision LASIK, the visual results achieve more of a “blended vision” result. The twelve-month FDA data showed good near and distance vision after CK. If you have already undergone LASIK or PRK and are interested in pursuing CK, it may be possible to pursue this option. You will need to discuss this with your surgeon and meet certain criteria.
One needs to approach CK with realistic expectations. CK is a surgery that addresses a functional deficit in the eye that is the result of the aging process. While the surgical results are stable, you will continue to age. CK, therefore, will reset the clock, but as you age, you will need additional procedures or possibly different procedures to maintain functional close vision. It is similar to increasing the power on the reading glasses as one gets older or pursuing additional plastics surgery procedures as one ages.
The CK U.S. FDA trial results at twelve months showed that 98 percent of patients noted improvement in the quality of their vision after CK; 96 percent of patients were satisfied, very satisfied or neutral with results of CK, and 100 percent of patients maintained fair to excellent depth perception. CK affords one the opportunity to have flexibility with their vision for every day tasks without the encumbrance of glasses. With LASIK for distance vision and the FDA approved CK procedure, patients can now experience “vision for life”. Look into CK and see what you’ve been missing.