Surgical Reversal of Presbyopia
Within the eye, there is a lens that helps the cornea (outer window of the eye) focus light. It works like a camera, allowing us to “auto focus” on objects at different distances. This lens is made of flexible tissue, and it is attached to thousands of tiny rope-like strands called “zonules.” Small muscles pull on the zonules to change the shape of the lens. When the muscles pull, the middle of the lens becomes thicker. This causes light passing through the lens to focus on near objects. As the muscles relax, the lens becomes thinner in the middle, which allows us to focus on distance objects. This ability to go from near to far focus is called “accommodation.”
As we age, the lens becomes larger and takes up more space, making it more difficult for the muscles to pull the zonules and change the shape of the lens. When the lens can no longer become thicker in the middle, we loose the ability to read up close. Surgical reversal of presbyopia (SRP) restores accommodation by enlarging the space around the lens, allowing the muscles to pull on the zonules and return the focusing power to the lens.
Implants create additional space around the lens.
SRP is for those who:
- want to reduce or eliminate their dependence on reading glasses or bifocals
- are at an age where they are experiencing presbyopia
- have no health issues affecting their eyes
What to expect on surgery day
You will arrive at the surgery center 30-60 minutes prior to your procedure. Once you have been checked in you may be offered a sedative to help you relax. You will then be prepared for surgery. The area around your eyes will be cleaned and a sterile drape may be applied around your eye. Topical or local anesthesia will be used to eliminate discomfort during the procedure. Four arched plastic implants, each about the size of a grain of rice, are implanted just below the white part of the eye, or sclera, near the edge of the lens. These implants pull the diameter of the eye outward, which in turn, creates additional space around the lens. The procedure takes between 30 and 60 minutes to perform.
Following your procedure, you will be given additional eye drops. Your vision will probably be a little blurry at first, so someone will need to drive you home. You should relax for the rest of the day. You may experience some discomfort, but this is usually alleviated with an over-the-counter pain reliever.
Most patients resume normal activities the day after their surgery. Your ability to read will return gradually. Just like any muscle that hasn’t been used for a while, it takes time to restore its function. You will be given exercises to speed this process. At first, it is normal to feel a slight discomfort while doing these reading exercises, but this should diminish as your ability to read improves.
The decision to have SRP is an important one that only you can make. The goal of any vision correction procedure is to reduce your dependence on corrective lenses. However, we cannot guarantee you will have the results you desire.
SRP is considered a relatively new procedure. It is currently being investigated in clinical trials around the world. Serious complications with SRP are extremely rare, but like any surgical procedure, it does have some risks.
After a thorough eye exam, you and your doctor will determine if SRP is an option for you. If you are a good candidate, you will be given additional information about the procedure that will allow you to make an informed decision about whether to proceed. Be sure you have all your questions answered to your satisfaction.
Alternatives to SRP
SRP is not the only surgical procedure designed to correct presbyopia. To learn about other procedures go to the surgical and laser vision correction procedures section of our Web Site. If you would like to learn more about vision correction procedures from sources other than our practice, we encourage you to link to a number of Web sites we feel provide factual and up-to-date information. You may also choose to make an appointment, attend a seminar or request additional information to learn more about this exciting procedure.