More than 1.7 million Australians living with presbyopia (age-related loss of near vision) are set to benefit from the launch of Australia's first laser eye treatment that can eliminate the need for reading glasses in just 20 seconds.
The groundbreaking IntraCOR™ procedure uses a minimally invasive laser to reshape the cornea without damaging the outer layers of the eye. Because the procedure requires no general anaesthetic, injections, or blades, it promotes fast healing, with a minimal risk of infection and can significantly improve near vision one day post-procedure.
According to ophthalmic surgeon and Australian pioneer of this breakthrough technology, Dr Kerrie Meades, presbyopia is one of Australia's most common eye conditions.
'To date, the only treatments available to correct near vision were reading glasses, contact lenses or invasive laser eye surgery," said Dr Meades.
'Conventional laser eye surgery typically involves cutting open the outer layers of the eye in order to direct the laser to the inner cornea. This method results in longer healing times and higher risks of infection.
'With the IntraCOR™ procedure, no surgical cuts to the outer eye or removal of tissue is required," Dr Meades said.
'The procedure is quick and painless, taking just 20 seconds to perform."
Without damaging the outer layers of the eye, the non-surgical procedure involves delivering a painless laser beam directly into the stroma (deep layer of the cornea), where gas bubbles form into microscopic rings.
The gas bubbles dissolve within two-to-three hours post-surgery. When the cornea clears, distance vision returns, and the patient may immediately notice a change in near vision. By the end of the first day post-procedure, patients can already see an improvement in their near vision.
As the entire pattern of applied laser depends on the patient's visual disturbance, the result is a personalised and accurate treatment with minimal risk of infection.
'The IntraCOR™ procedure not only improves near vision, but can also enhance distance vision in some instances. Also, the shadow or halo effect in night time vision associated with conventional treatments is significantly reduced with this new procedure," said Dr Meades.
'This is the first time this level of visual independence has been achieved without invasive laser surgery. The improvements to quality of life mean that our patients can maintain an active, independent lifestyle without constantly reaching for or worrying about their reading glasses."
The IntraCOR™ procedure is suitable for adult patients seeking to improve their near vision and permanently reduce their reliance on glasses or contact lenses.
According to former presbyopic patient, Mr Andrew Davis, 46, Sydney, the life-changing IntraCOR™ procedure has restored his near vision. He is now able to read fine print without the use of his reading glasses.
'My near vision started deteriorating about two years ago, and it became progressively harder for me to focus on the fine print.
'My work requires me to be able to see long distance as well as up close. I wasn't accustomed to wearing glasses, so was frustrated with constantly having to put my reading glasses on, have my eyes adjust to them, only to have to take them off again. Then after removing my glasses it would take time for my eyes to readjust. The strain on my eyes from the constant readjustment would cause me to experience headaches almost every day," said Mr Davis.
'On the day of my procedure I was a bit anxious, but it was all thoroughly explained to me, so I knew what to expect. Before I knew it, the procedure was already over and I was allowed to go home."
On the day of treatment, anaesthetic drops are placed in the patients' eye while they are lying down on a laser bed. A laser beam is then accurately positioned on the cornea using a sterile patient interface device. The treatment takes only 20 seconds to complete and near vision typically improves within just a few hours.
'When returning home after the procedure, I was surprised that I could already read the newspaper without my reading glasses," Mr Davis said.
'I am no longer plagued by headaches from eye strain and am enjoying my new life post-glasses. To virtually restore my near vision is extraordinary."
For patients who may have lost the ability to read for up to several decades, the procedure can provide a welcome restoration of vision, where daily tasks such as reading, using a mobile phone, and leafing through catalogues, can become hassle-free once again.
Not only does IntraCOR™ improve quality of life, but the long-term cost savings from a one-off IntraCOR™ procedure compared to a lifetime of prescription lenses can be significant. The total treatment cost for IntraCOR™ is less than $5,000.
For more information about IntraCOR™, call 1300 68 3937 or visit www.intracor.com.au
Facts About Presbyopia
Presbyopia is a condition characterised by an age‐related loss of near vision. While its' exact mechanisms are unknown, research suggests the lens naturally loses its elasticity with age, so the restricted curvature makes it difficult to focus on nearby objects or images.
The first signs of presbyopia – eyestrain, difficulty seeing in dim light, problems focusing on small objects and/or fine print –typically become noticeable beyond 40 years of age, and close vision continues to deteriorate until around the mid‐50s.
Presbyopia is a refractive error, which results from a disorder rather than from disease. A refractive error means that the shape of your eye does not bend light correctly, resulting in a blurred image.
Presbyopia makes reading, especially fine print, difficult or impossible without the aid of reading glasses or contact lenses.
Presbyopia is one of the most common eye problems in Australia, with more than 1.7 million people living with the condition.4 Presbyopia is an inevitable part of the ageing process beyond 40 years of age, and affects almost everyone over the age of 50.
In 2005, the estimated global impact of presbyopia was 1.04 billion people, estimated to grow to 1.4 billion by 2020.
The prevalence of presbyopia is increasing. The condition can compromise quality of life, activities of daily living and economic independence, and therefore poses an important public health challenge that needs to be addressed.
People with untreated presbyopia may complain of blurred vision at close‐range, difficulties reading or seeing close objects, headaches and/or eye strain. They may also hold objects progressively further away from the eye in order to clearly focus. While this may bring objects into focus, they may become too small to identify.
Presbyopia affects quality of life, especially where reading and writing are the main near vision tasks undertaken.
Reading glasses or contact lenses temporarily correct presbyopia, and are the options many people currently use.
To date, surgical attempts to correct presbyopia have included the implantation of a multifocal or accommodative intraocular lens (IOL) – an invasive procedure that involves surgical wound healing and potential inflammation at the site.
LASIK/PRK laser vision correction creates monovision or a multifocal cornea, which is more invasive and often a compromise.
Australians now have access to INTRACORTM – a minimally invasive laser eye treatment that us TECHNOLAS Femtosecond Workstation laser technology to correct presbyopia. The procedure significantly improves near vision by reshaping the cornea in as little as 20 seconds.
personalEYES is a leading provider of vision correction procedures, with several branches in New South Wales. Dedicated to excellence in ophthalmology, the personalEYES vision correction centres combine state‐of‐the‐art surgical facilities with groundbreaking technologies, offering painless and clinically proven treatments for presbyopia, cataracts, shortsightedness and long‐sightedness and astigmatism.
personalEYES has one of the most experienced corrective eye surgeon teams in Australasia. Dr Kerrie Meades, a co‐founder of personalEYES, and her team of world‐class surgeons have performed more than 10,000 vision correction procedures using a variety of techniques over the past decade.
personalEYES is technologically committed to updating equipment and software to the most advanced, safest and verified standards. The team at personalEYES help develop, test and establish protocols for new vision correction procedures.
As leaders in their field, the personalEYES team offers vision correction options other than traditional laser vision correction (including multifocal vision solutions and the newest vision correction procedures), and personalises vision care with the technique that is best suited to each patient's eyes.
The personalEYES surgeons are among the most respected and sought after specialists for training in refractive surgery nation‐wide. The surgeons are regularly invited to lecture and speak at medical symposiums both locally and internationally.
Quality control officer and former presbyopia patient Helen Forestieri, 53 is a mother of three kids. She has been relying on reading glasses for more than 10 years. Helen underwent the IntraCORTM procedure in October this year. This is her story.
Question: When and how did you first notice that you were losing your near vision?
Helen Forestieri: I first noticed that I was losing my reading vision after trying to focus on the small print of a newspaper and not being able to read anything. Everything was blurred.
Question: When were you diagnosed with presbyopia?
Helen Forestieri: I was diagnosed with presbyopia about 10 years ago after visiting my optometrist, who referred me to a specialist.
Question: Why did you choose to undergo the IntraCORTM procedure?
Helen Forestieri: I chose to undergo the IntraCORTM procedure because I was fed up with not being able to leave the house without dragging my reading glasses around with me. Everyday tasks such as grocery shopping or opening the mail would take me twice as long as they should, because I would have to first find my reading glasses before being able to read the small print.
Question: What was your experience with the IntraCORTM procedure?
Helen Forestieri: It was a very comfortable, relaxing, satisfying and rewarding procedure. It was simple to go through.
Question: How has your restored vision improved your quality of life?
Helen Forestieri: I feel a lot more independent now that I don't have to rely on my reading glasses. Every day things are a lot easier to do when I don't need to reach for my glasses all the time. This has dramatically improved my quality of life.
Question: Since having the procedure, how would you describe your eyesight now?
Helen Forestieri: Living with presbyopia means you're dependent on reading glasses for everyday activities. Now I no longer need to worry about using my glasses for up‐close work. I can now read very clearly both at a distance and at arms length.
Question: What did you think of the IntraCORTM procedure?
Helen Forestieri: It was a very simple and painless procedure. Before I knew it, the procedure was over and I was able to go home. The procedure is such a small price to pay to have your reading vision restored.
Question: What is your advice to those living with presbyopia
Helen Forestieri: My advice to those living with presbyopia is, don't hesitate. Ask your ophthalmologist about the IntraCOR procedure and if it's right for you. If you're suitable for the procedure you should find that your quality of life post‐procedure will vastly improve.