Implantable lenses to correct myopia

August 12, 2009 by  
Filed under VISION

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contact_lensI have been nearsighted since my early teens. I had to wear glasses, tried out contact lenses, and now am back to eyeglasses. This recent report in the July issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology describes a novel and promising treatment for myopia that I might try someday.

Japanese researchers have developed implantable lenses to correct myopia and have tested its efficacy and safety during a follow up period of four years. The lenses are made from a biocompatible collagen-like compound. The lenses were implanted in 56 eyes of 34 patients. Follow up checks were done one, three and six months and one, two and four years after surgical implantation.

The results of the study showed that:

  • 44 of the eyes (79%) were within 0.5 diopter (unit of measuring lens power) of the targeted correction
  • 52 (93%) were within one diopter

The study results indicate that the collagen copolymer lenses were able to correct moderate to high myopia.

“The results were good in all measures of safety, efficacy, predictability and stability for the correction of high myopia throughout the four-year follow-up”, according to the researchers at the University of Kitasato School of Medicine, Kanagawa, Japan.

Implantable lenses versus LASIK

In recent years, intervention using laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) has become a popular approach in the treatment of myopia. Although technique was demonstrated to be effective and safe, there were some risks involved, e.g. restrictions in patients with severe myopia and/or thin corneas and risk of developing keratectasia (i.e., a weakening of the cornea). The implantable lenses supposedly can overcome these limitations associated with LASIK. In addition, the procedure is reversible, and the lens can be changed as the need arises.

The current trial aimed to evaluate the long-term safety of the implant especially in terms of increased risk for cataract and glaucoma. The 4-year results showed “no vision-threatening complications occurred throughout the follow-up period.

Because of the novelty of this technique, the 4-year study described here is the longest assessment study so far. The researchers will continue to follow up the patients with implantation for possible late onset complications associated with the implant and/or the surgery.

In the meantime, I’ll stick to my eyeglasses till more conclusive findings are reported.

Photo credit: stock.xchng

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