New Surgery Could Make Reading Glasses Obsolete

Updated: 04/27/2013 4:31 PM By: Tim Sherno

A new surgical technique may restore more normal function to patients who have lost near-vision due to age.

Dr. Ralph Chu is the Surgical Director of the Chu Vision Institute in Bloomington.  Dr. Chu is one of a handful surgeons performing the inpatient operation as part of the third phase of an F.D.A. trial.

Dr. Chu says more than 90-million people suffer from presbyopia and rely on reading glasses, "Surgical options for treating presbyopia are really limited."

The operation is done in two steps.

The first step is similar to LASIK surgery; a slice is made horizontally across the cornea.

In the second step, that slice folded back and a tiny implant is placed on the eye.

The implant is half the width of a human hear, and roughly the size of the head of a pin. Once the implant is in place, the cornea is folded back over the eye, covering the tiny lens.  The tiny lens helps reshape the cornea, and restores the ability to focus up close.

Dr. Chu says a patient could see results immediately, "What's amazing is how fast the vision comes back. You could have surgery in a minute or two after you leave the surgical suite, read with 20/20 vision without glasses at a distance of about 2 feet."

The procedure is currently not available in the United States, but Dr. Chu expects that it will become available in the next 3 to 5 years.