Corneal inlays need your boost to hit their stride

John A. Hovanesian, MD, FACS / Healio     10 April 2017

Recently, ReVision Optics announced the implantation of the 1,000th Raindrop corneal inlay in the United States since its approval last August. The AcuFocus Kamra corneal inlay, which was approved earlier, has now reached nearly 4,000 U.S. implants, according to a source at the company.

More importantly, 95% of patients with these devices report being quite satisfied, according to surveys, and virtually all implanting surgeons report they would recommend the procedures to their colleagues. Personally, I have two close friends in whom I have implanted corneal inlays. One received the Raindrop about 2 years ago as part of the FDA study, and the other received the Kamra more recently. I regularly hear from both of them about how much they enjoy their freedom from glasses and their ability to be the only one at the restaurant table to read the menu without glasses.

This is an exciting time in keratorefractive surgery. We have a booming generation of millennials who are interested in keratorefractive surgery, and an even larger swelling population of presbyopic baby boomers who need near vision correction. Both the SMILE procedure (Zeiss) and these new inlays offer platforms for future development that will take us beyond the capabilities of LASIK and PRK.

But it is not enough that companies develop these technologies. Surgeons have to learn to adopt them, and recommend them, for our science to move forward. This takes effort and investment. Adding procedures to our skill set takes us away from our routine and tests our surgical skill, but these are very learnable procedures, building upon skills learned in LASIK. The added equipment is minimal, and the excitement generated by offering a new procedure is very good for our practices.

Most of all, these procedures are extremely gratifying. My faith in the technology that drove me to offer them to personal friends has been rewarded, and I certainly hope every refractive surgeon will give these new technologies a chance to improve the lives of their own patients.

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