KAMRA inlay surgery is a vision-correction procedure for people who want to correct presbyopia, which is a condition that makes it difficult for someone to refocus accurately on objects both near and far. The surgery involves one eye and takes less than an hour. Recovery time is 24 to 48 hours, although it can take weeks before someone gains the full effect of the surgery.
What Is KAMRA Inlay Surgery?
KAMRA inlay surgery is an eye procedure that adjusts and refocuses light that enters the eye. The surgeon places an inlay smaller than a contact lens in the stromal bed, a thin layer within the cornea. You will neither feel the inlay nor see it once it is put in place.
The surgery becomes necessary for people whose lenses inside the eye turn too rigid. As you age, lenses become less flexible, making it challenging for eyes to look at distant objects and then ones close up — or vice versa — and maintain accurate focus on both. The condition, known as presbyopia, affects more than 2 billion people worldwide.
How Does KAMRA Inlay Work?
Doctors place an inlay in one eye, usually the non-dominant one. This helps that eye to focus on objects that are close by, while the untouched eye makes it easy to focus on objects further away.
The procedure, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2014, can only be performed on people who have presbyopia and are between the ages of 45 and 60. It is best suited for people whose distance vision is consider average or better, although surgeons sometimes perform it alongside LASIK, which can fix hyperopia.
Benefits of KAMRA Inlay Surgery
Ophthalmologists, optometrists and other experts recommend KAMRA inlay surgery. Among its benefits:
- It does not interfere with distance vision.
- It eliminates the need for reading glasses.
- The procedure is quick and fully reversible.
- It is a safe and minimally invasive procedure.
- It reduces digital eye strain and improves your computer vision.
Are You a Suitable Surgical Candidate?
You may be a suitable candidate to undergo KAMRA inlay candidate if you meet the following criteria:
- You are between 45 and 60 years old.
- You are comfortable with monovision.
- You experience age-related farsightedness (presbyopia).
- Your corneas are properly shaped, and your pupils are of normal size.
Risks of KAMRA Inlay Surgery
Some of the downsides of getting the procedure include:
- The procedure is costly.
- Not everyone is considered a good candidate for the surgery.
- While minimal, there are some risks with the healing process.
Limitations of the Procedure
While the implant can fix presbyopia, it is not a miracle solution for all sight-related complications. In fact, some patients still need to wear glasses after the procedure. Experts typically recommend the procedure for patients who don’t do a lot of reading.
If you must be on your screen or you read extensively, you might need to keep your corrective eyeglasses even after the operation.
What to Expect During the Procedure
The KAMRA inlay procedure takes about 20 minutes from start to finish. First, doctors will use numbing drops to ease any discomfort throughout the procedure.
You may still feel some slight pressure as the laser creates a small opening on the cornea. The pressure should disappear in a few minutes.
The inlay is then put in place, and you are done. After the procedure, when the effects of the numbing drops wear off, your eyes may feel scratchy and irritable. You may also experience sensitivity to light, and your doctor will prescribe medications to manage any discomfort and other post-surgery symptoms.
You will not be allowed to drive immediately after the procedure.
How Long is the Recovery Time?
As with most surgeries, you will need some time to heal and recover fully. Follow any advice and recommendations from your doctor to lessen the recovery time and avoid further complications.
How well the surgery works for near vision improvements are different for everybody. Some people notice a change in the first week, while it may take up to a month for others.
You should be able to resume normal activities within 24 to 48 hours. But you still may experience fluctuations in your vision for six weeks and up to three months after the procedure.
To improve the surgery’s chances of success and to prevent undoing the results of surgery, you should:
- Avoid wearing your reading glasses
- Follow through on after-care appointments
- Use any medications as prescribed, including the artificial tears
Can the KAMRA Inlay Be Removed?
There are instances where your body may treat the inlay as a foreign object and completely reject it. In such situations, the implant needs to be removed before it can cause any damage to the eye.
The implant also must come out if you need to have cataract surgery should be removed, although some surgeons will perform cataract surgery with the inlay in place.
In these situations, or if you are uncomfortable with the inlay, a surgeon can remove it safely without causing any damage. The removal process is more or less similar to the implanting process.
Talk with your healthcare provider about the best approach before deciding to remove the inlay.
Potential Complications and Outlook of KAMRA Inlay Surgery
Research points to nearly 10 percent of the surgery’s recipients rejecting the inlay. A small number of patients also report blurred vision and difficulty with night vision. The main issue with KAMRA complications is these complications can take months to develop and manifest.
Doctors may prescribe anti-inflammatory steroids to speed up the healing process around the cornea. However, if there’s no improvement after three months, removing the inlay should be considered.
How much does KAMRA inlay cost?
The average cost of getting the procedure is around $3,900, although the price can range from $1,800 to $6,000. Insurance typically does not cover the procedure, although it can help with the prescription medication.
What is the KAMRA inlay procedure?
This is a relatively modern eye treatment that implants a tiny ring inside the cornea. The surgical procedure seeks to help older patients improve nearsightedness.
Is KAMRA inlay safe?
The procedure is minimally invasive and is considered safe. It carries FDA approval, and complications or rejections are rare.
What is Presbyopia? (February 2022). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
What is LASIK? (January 2021). U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
KAMRA Inlay Implantation for Presbyopia Compensation: A Retrospective Evaluation of Patient Satisfaction and Subjective Vision 12-Month Postoperative. (August 2019). National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Global Prevalence of Presbyopia and Vision Impairment from Uncorrected Presbyopia: Systematic Review, Meta-analysis, and Modeling. (May 2018). National Center for Biotechnology Information.
FDA Approves Corneal Inlay for Presbyopia. (April 2015). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Implantable Inlay Devices for Presbyopia: The Evidence to Date. (January 2015). National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Last Updated June 8, 2022
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