More than 1.7 million Australians living with presbyopia (age-related loss of near vision) are set to benefit from the launch of Australia’s first laser eye treatment that can eliminate the need for reading glasses in just 20 seconds.
The groundbreaking IntraCOR™ procedure uses a minimally invasive laser to reshape the cornea without damaging the outer layers of the eye. Because the procedure requires no general anaesthetic, injections, or blades, it promotes fast healing, with a minimal risk of infection and can significantly improve near vision one day post-procedure.
According to ophthalmic surgeon and Australian pioneer of this breakthrough technology, Dr Kerrie Meades, presbyopia is one of Australia’s most common eye conditions.
“To date, the only treatments available to correct near vision were reading glasses, contact lenses or invasive laser eye surgery,” said Dr Meades.
“Conventional laser eye surgery typically involves cutting open the outer layers of the eye in order to direct the laser to the inner cornea. This method results in longer healing times and higher risks of infection.
“With the IntraCORTM procedure, no surgical cuts to the outer eye or removal of tissue is required,” Dr Meades said.
“The procedure is quick and painless, taking just 20 seconds to perform.”
Without damaging the outer layers of the eye, the non-surgical procedure involves delivering a painless laser beam directly into the stroma (deep layer of the cornea), where gas bubbles form into microscopic rings.
The gas bubbles dissolve within two-to-three hours post-surgery. When the cornea clears, distance vision returns, and the patient may immediately notice a change in near vision. By the end of the first day post-procedure, patients can already see an improvement in their near vision.
As the entire pattern of applied laser depends on the patient’s visual disturbance, the result is a personalised and accurate treatment with minimal risk of infection.
“The IntraCOR™ procedure not only improves near vision, but can also enhance distance vision in some instances. Also, the shadow or halo effect in night time vision associated with conventional treatments is significantly reduced with this new procedure,” said Dr Meades.
“This is the first time this level of visual independence has been achieved without invasive laser surgery. The improvements to quality of life mean that our patients can maintain an active, independent lifestyle without constantly reaching for or worrying about their reading glasses.”
The IntraCOR™ procedure is suitable for adult patients seeking to improve their near vision and permanently reduce their reliance on glasses or contact lenses.
According to former presbyopic patient, Mr Andrew Davis, 46, Sydney, the life-changing IntraCOR™ procedure has restored his near vision. He is now able to read fine print without the use of his reading glasses.
“My near vision started deteriorating about two years ago, and it became progressively harder for me to focus on the fine print.
“My work requires me to be able to see long distance as well as up close. I wasn’t accustomed to wearing glasses, so was frustrated with constantly having to put my reading glasses on, have my eyes adjust to them, only to have to take them off again. Then after removing my glasses it would take time for my eyes to readjust. The strain on my eyes from the constant readjustment would cause me to experience headaches almost every day,” said Mr Davis.
“On the day of my procedure I was a bit anxious, but it was all thoroughly explained to me, so I knew what to expect. Before I knew it, the procedure was already over and I was allowed to go home.”
On the day of treatment, anaesthetic drops are placed in the patients’ eye while they are lying down on a laser bed. A laser beam is then accurately positioned on the cornea using a sterile patient interface device. The treatment takes only 20 seconds to complete and near vision typically improves within just a few hours.
“When returning home after the procedure, I was surprised that I could already read the newspaper without my reading glasses,” Mr Davis said.
“I am no longer plagued by headaches from eye strain and am enjoying my new life post-glasses. To virtually restore my near vision is extraordinary.”
For patients who may have lost the ability to read for up to several decades, the procedure can provide a welcome restoration of vision, where daily tasks such as reading, using a mobile phone, and leafing through catalogues, can become hassle-free once again.
Not only does IntraCOR™ improve quality of life, but the long-term cost savings from a one-off IntraCOR™ procedure compared to a lifetime of prescription lenses can be significant. The total treatment cost for IntraCOR™ is less than $5,000.
For more information about IntraCOR™, call 1300 68 3937 or visit www.intracor.com.au.
In 2005, the estimated global impact of presbyopia was 1.04 billion people. An ageing population means that presbyopia will soon affect over 40 per cent of the world’s population. A recent study has put the number of presbyopes at 1.04 billion – estimated to grow to 1.4 billion by 2020. Currently, more than 1.7 million Australians experience this condition.
Presbyopia involves the progressive and inevitable loss of ability to focus on near objects. While its exact mechanisms are unknown, research suggests the lens naturally loses its elasticity with age, so the restricted curvature makes it difficult to focus on nearby objects or images. The first signs of presbyopia – eyestrain, difficulty seeing in dim light, problems focusing on small objects and/or fine print – usually occur between 40 to 50 years of age.
Presbyopia makes every day activities, such as reading, difficult or impossible, and without the aid of reading glasses or contact lenses, people often find they need to hold books, magazines, newspapers, and other reading material at arm’s length in order to focus properly.
Presbyopia poses an important public health challenge, for it could potentially compromise the older population’s ability to maintain its social and economic independence without the use of visual aids.
To date, surgical attempts to correct presbyopia have included invasive laser treatments which involve surgical wound healing and potential inflammation at the site.
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