Medical Breakthroughs: Presbyopia Surgery

CONDITION: Presbyopia occurs when the eye has trouble focusing on objects at close range. This condition is a result of the lens of the eye losing flexibility.

The lens continues to grow throughout life, causing the surrounding muscle to stretch. This process happens naturally because of aging. Men and women often notice vision changes around their mid-forties. However, women often suffer from vision loss earlier than men do.

Risk factors such as occupation, ocular trauma, drugs, or geographic setting can contribute to pre-mature signs of presbyopia.

Symptoms or signs of presbyopia include:

  • Difficulty reading fine print
  • Less contrast when reading print
  • A need for brighter and more direct light for reading
  • Needing to hold reading material further away in order to see it clearly
  • Headaches that occur when doing work that requires near vision

REVERSAL PROCESS: Presently, eyeglasses and contact lenses are the popular options for people who suffer from presbyopia. The new surgical reversal of presbyopia, or SRP, involves using tiny bands attached to the sclera, or white of the eye, to enlarge the area around the lens. The bands help the surrounding muscles regain tension, therefore restoring the ability to focus.

"The purpose of these inserts is to expand the sclera outward and re-establish the zonular tension, which had been reduced to absent due to the natural progressive growth of the lens," Robert Marmer, M.D., from the Marmer Medical Eye Center in Atlanta, explained.

BENEFITS: SRP has many benefits, including long-term vision correction. The method is performed on an outpatient basis, and it takes 30 minutes per eye while the patient is under local anesthesia. This procedure is also reversible because the tiny bands used can be removed. For patients with primary open angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension, this surgical treatment will also help to reduce intraocular pressure.

RISK: There is a low risk factor associated with SRP, because the operation is performed on the sclera. Currently, patients must travel overseas for the procedure as it is only in the clinical trial stage in the United States.


Robert Marmer, M.D.
Marmer Medical Eye Center
777 Cleveland Ave. Suite 102
Atlanta, GA 30315

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