Goodbye Glasses; New Eye Procedure Offers Solution to the Decline in Near Vision

WEST MONROE, La. - They say some things get better with age but our eyes unfortunately are not on that list.

Chances are you, or someone you know, are one of more than a billion people worldwide who use reading glasses to combat age related decline in near vision.

"It really begins in our 40's and continues to get worse through our 50's and 60's. For many people, the dependence and results are reading glasses. It's a real source of frustration," said Doctor Baron Williamson an ophthalmologist Haik Humble Eye Center in Monroe, Louisiana.  

Photographer Staci Albritton is one of the people who knew all too well about that frustration; especially at work. She needs great eyesight to do her job.

"I've been using reading glasses pretty constantly for maybe three years now; two to three years," said Albritton. "My eyes were giving me fits with my camera, with my job as a photographer. Trying to look down at the settings with my camera and then look out at the distance of my subjects or whatever i was doing was really giving me fits." 

That's when Dr. Williamson and the team at Haik Humble told Albritton that she would be a good candidate for a new advanced eye procedure called the KAMRA Inlay.
"The KAMRA Inlay is a small disk, about one-third the diameter of a contact lens and in terms of thickness, its about one-fourth the thickness of a human hair. It has a central opening and you implant this inlay in the cornea and it blocks the peripheral unfocused rays of light and only allows the focused rays of light to enter the eye. Therefore giving you good distance vision, good intermediate vision and good reading vision," said Williamson.  
"I'll have the computer in my lap and have my glasses on for that and then I'll look up at the TV and have to take my glasses off."Putting on makeup, it's just a pain. I'm just tired of it," said patient Tracey Blanchard.  
To see first hand how the KAMRA Inlay works we took our cameras inside the operating room as Blanchard had the device implanted into one eye.
Doctor's say that's all it takes.

"You place it in the non dominate eye and it gives you and it gives you reading vision but it does not compromise the distance vision so your eyes are still working together for distance," said Williamson.  

After about 20 minutes the procedure was over; quick, and according to doctors, relatively painless.

The post-op recovery is less than 24 hours.

But there are side affects to this reversible procedure which include the most common, dry eye. Another side affect is inflammation. As with any surgery patients also risk possible infection. 

For many however, the risks are outweighed by the reward and the feeling of saying goodbye to glasses!

"I do know where one pair is in my nightstand beside my bed, other than that they are not in my purse anymore or any of that. Have not put a pair on since the surgery," said Albritton. 

Another thing not to lose sight of; the cost. The KAMRA Inlay carries a $4,000 price tag and right now it isn't covered by insurance.

Right now the team at Haik Humble is the only in Louisiana certified to implant the KAMRA Inlay which the FDA approved in 2015. 

Ouachita Parish Sheriff Jay Russell recently had it done. CLICK HERE to hear about his experience in his own words. 

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