Safer, less invasive presbyopia treatments in development

One study conducted by researchers at the Dignostica Oculistica e Microchirurgia Ambulatoriale in Rome, Italy used electrostimulation to strengthen the ciliary muscle. The researchers hypothesised that this could help correct presbyopia in people who were just starting to experience the condition by compensating for the loss of flexibility in the ageing lens.Forty-six people who had mild presbyopia were fitted with a contact lens-shaped device that delivered micro-currents of electricity to the eye, repeatedly activating and exercising the ciliary muscle. It was said participants only felt a “small, painless tingling” sensation.{{quote-A:R-W:450-Q:Due to the fact that the technique requires no surgery, it was said electrostimulation offered a less-invasive presbyopia treatment option.}}Forty-five days after having the procedure, the researchers found that participants could see clearly an average of 6 cm closer compared with prior to the treatment.Dr Luca Gualdi, lead author of the study, said, “The key is early treatment. Electrostimulation is much more effective when it’s performed in people who are early in the process of developing presbyopia before their eyes become dependent on reading glasses and the ciliary muscle is less reactive to treatment.”Due to the fact that the technique requires no surgery, it was said electrostimulation offered a less-invasive presbyopia treatment option.Another treatment presented at the conference was the presbyoptic allogenic refractive lenticule – or PEARL – procedure.The PEARL procedure involves the use of ftosecond lasers to make a small cut in the cornea. A disc of corneal tissue – a lenticule – is roved through the cut using the small incision lenticule extraction technique or SMILE.The SMILE technique permanently roves this tissue to reshape the eye and correct vision. However, the PEARL procedure cuts the SMILE lenticule to 1 mm and reshapes it, then places the newly created inlay into a pocket in the cornea of the presbyopic patient to improve near vision without significantly compromising distance vision.PEARL was said to offer safety advantages over existing treatments that use synthetic corneal inlays for presbyopia because it uses the patient’s own corneal tissue. As such, the PEARL inlay is more biologically compatible, reducing complications such as inflammation, and potentially facilitating better oxygen and nutrient flow through the patient’s cornea.The two studies were outlined at the annual meeting of the American Acady of Ophthalmology, which took place from 15–18 October in Chicago.

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