BOSTON (CBS) — Most people as they hit their 40s start to find it harder to read the fine print.
Reading glasses often become a necessary crutch, but they can also be a nuisance.
Earlier this year the Food and Drug Administration approved KAMRA, a new implant which could help many patients ditch those readers.
Dr. Ernest Kornmehl, a Wellesley ophthalmologist, is one of 30 doctors nationwide who has been approved by the drug company to perform the implant procedure.
Over those three decades working with patients, Dr. Kornmehl said many have asked when there would be an option other than reading glasses.
KAMRA is a tiny disc that is surgically implanted to sit over the cornea of a patient’s non-dominant eye. It limits the amount of light that comes into the eye.
“It works regarding the pin-hole effect,” explained Dr. Kornmehl. “The larger the aperture or opening, the more blurred the images will be. So this provides a very small opening, where by patients can read without their glasses.”
Personal trainer Dianne Udolloiess is one of the first patients to get the implant.
“I haven’t been able to see the date on my watch for a long time,” she says, “And I looked at my watch and I was ‘Whoa, I can see the date!”
Udolloiess first started having trouble with her vision a few years ago when she couldn’t read her clients’ charts. If you look closely at her eye, the thin tiny disc is slightly visible.
“It’s a painless procedure,” said Udolloiess. “The next day I could do anything. It doesn’t affect my distance vision.”
Dr. Colman Kraff, a Chicago ophthalmologist, was one of the surgeons who participated in the FDA trials.
“Clearly this is going to be a nice alternative for a large potential population of people,” said Dr. Kraff. “The youngest group of baby boomers, they just turned 50 in 2014. There’s a big need for this.”
Here’s a bonus: if the KAMRA implant doesn’t meet a patient’s expectations, it can easily be removed. “The effects are basically reversed,” added Dr. Kraff.
The ideal patients are 45-to-60 years old and have relatively good distance vision.
The procedure is not covered by insurance, however. It costs about $5,000.