The Raindrop Near Vision Inlay may be your solution to the problem of presbyopia.
Presbyopia is a common consequence of aging. As the lens inside the eye becomes rigid over time, it loses its ability to help the eye focus. The result is difficulty seeing up close. Most people will experience presbyopia in their lifetime and usually first notice it in their early to mid-40s. Others may notice it later, but in either case it can continue to get worse for many years. When you’re experiencing presbyopia, you have trouble focusing on near objects and you have blurry vision while reading, which you may try to fix by holding objects farther away. Presbyopia is the reason so many people find themselves buying and relying on “drug store readers” or needing to wear bifocals.
Raindrop Corneal Inlay is intended to be a long-term solution for presbyopia. It’s a tiny transparent disc about as big as a pinhead and half the thickness of a human hair. It’s made out of a material that is mostly water and biocompatible with the eye. Raindrop is called an inlay because it’s designed to be inserted just under the surface of the front of one eye. It reshapes the front of the eye to reduce the need for wearing reading glasses or bifocals to see up close.
To be well-suited to receive a Raindrop Near Vision Inlay, you must be 41 to 65 years old and have a generally healthy eye. You must have a need to wear glasses for reading, but not to see far away, and have only a low level of astigmatism. Your eye doctor will do a thorough exam of your eye to determine whether it’s healthy and whether your vision falls within the range that the Raindrop is designed to improve. He or she will also determine which is your dominant and non-dominant eye. The Raindrop would be placed in your non-dominant eye so that your dominant eye remains dedicated to distance vision.
Your eye doctor may use a contact lens test to help you decide whether Raindrop is a good option for you. For several days, you would wear in your non-dominant eye a contact lens that has a similar visual effect as the inlay. If you’re happy with your vision during that time, it would be a good indication that the Raindrop is a good way for you to reduce your need to use reading glasses.
The Raindrop isn’t recommended for people who have an autoimmune disease, uncontrolled diabetes, eye disease such as severe dry eye or glaucoma, or who have had previous eye surgery.
On the day of your Raindrop procedure, do not wear any makeup or face cream. To start the procedure, your eye will be numbed with eyedrops and you may be given a medication for relaxation. The surgeon will use a highly advanced, precise femtosecond laser to create a flap in the tissue at the front of your eye. The inlay is placed under the flap, which will close on its own. Stitches aren’t required. The procedure takes about 10 minutes.
When you get home, take some time to relax. Taking a nap is good because it helps your eye begin to heal. Wear a protective eye shield for at least a day and also while you sleep for as long as the surgeon recommends. Avoid rubbing your eye for at least two weeks so that the flap in your cornea and the inlay stay in place.
The surgeon will prescribe eyedrops and a schedule for using them after your procedure. Follow the instructions closely. Wait approximately 3 minutes between the different bottles of drops. (Tip: It may be easier to remember to take your eye drops on schedule when you associate them with specific routine activities throughout the day.) Be careful and gentle when you blot your eye with a tissue. If your eye feels dry, you may also use preservative-free artificial tears.
You should be able to resume normal activities such as driving and reading the day after the Raindrop procedure, although you may have watery eyes and sensitivity to light in the first day or two. Your eye may also feel scratchy. You should keep all of the follow-up appointments your eye doctor recommends so he or she can monitor your progress.
In the first weeks after you receive the Raindrop Near Vision Inlay, your near vision will begin to improve, but the point at which it focuses clearly may be closer to your face than previously. The near focus point will eventually shift to a more comfortable distance. Also, at first, your distance vision may seem blurry. In the subsequent weeks and months, your vision will become more consistent and clear. You may notice halos or glare around lights at night, but that should diminish over time as well. If you feel any eye pain or your vision gets worse, you should contact your eye doctor immediately.
You can expect to need bifocals or reading glasses far less frequently after you have the Raindop, but it’s possible you may still need them in some situations. In the clinical trials that led to FDA approval of the Raindrop, 2 years after receiving the inlay, 98% of patients could read the newspaper, and 76% could read the standard text size of an e-mail on the computer screen without reading glasses.
At Barnet Dulaney Perkins Eye Center, our patient counselors can tell you about several ways to help you pay for a vision correction procedure such as the Raindrop, including interest-free financing.