If you’re nearing the 40-year mark, you may have noticed your eyesight weakening.
Now, a procedure recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration promises to have you seeing clearly without reading glasses.
It’s called Raindrop Near Vision Inlay, and it’s for anyone 40 or older who can see well far away, but not close up.
Kristy Halyburton had pretty good eyesight for most her life.
“I’ve always had perfect vision,” said Halyburton. “I've never had any eye issues.”
But when she turned 40, things got fuzzy.
“I can't read a book, I can't read ingredients of some thing, I can't look at my computer,” she said.
It happens to many of us as we age. The lens that sits behind our pupils gets harder and more dense with time.
“I came in to see what could be done," said Halyburton.
The inlay is meant only for one eye—the non-dominant eye, which is responsible for what you see close up.
Halyburton got traditional LASIK in her right eye, her dominant eye. Doctors tried a different approach for her left eye.
“They said I was a perfect candidate for the raindrop inlay,” said Halyburton.
The procedure takes 10 minutes and starts by using a laser to make a flap, just like LASIK.
“We take that flap back, we take the inlay which is microscopically thin -- lay it in the middle of the pupil area -- and lay the flap back in place,” said Dr. Jeffrey Whitman from the Key-Whitman Eye Center in North Dallas.
Tinier than the eye of a needle, the inlay preserves what you can see far away, but eliminates the need for reading glasses.
“It just extends our depth of focus for seeing different distances,” said Dr. Whitman, who added that patients start to get their near vision back within minutes of the procedure.
Halyburton, now 48, said the inlay makes her eyes feel 20 years younger.
“I could instantly read the paper, read ingredients on my face cream, and switch to reading text messages from my friends. It was really that miraculous and that seamless,” said Halyburton, who had the procedure five weeks ago.
There have been about 1,000 inlay procedures performed in the U.S.
This procedure is not covered by insurance and costs between $3,000 and $4,000.