A Northamptonshire man has become one of the first people in the UK to have a new type of lens implant, in 10 minute operation while he was fully conscious.
Salesman Greg Pawsey 52, from West Haddon, said the laser eye operation has enabled him to throw away his reading glasses for the first time in seven years.
He was given a tiny Raindrop inlay, a lens the size of a pinhead, so-called because it is the shape of a droplet and made of a substance called hydrogel which is also used in contact lenses.
Hydrogel is 80 per cent water which makes it more compatible with the eye than other corneal implants.
After having anaesthetic droplets applied, the lens was placed in a flap in the cornea or clear part of his non-dominant eye using a painless laser procedure with Greg conscious throughout.
The Raindrop lens corrects near and medium vision by adjusting the curvature of the cornea, causing its central section to become slightly steeper. This helps to overcome presbyopia and many patients like Greg can throw away their reading glasses afterwards.
In his mid-40s Greg began suffering from presbyopia, the condition that causes the eye to lose the ability to change focus from distant to near objects.
This is a natural part of ageing and one reason why people need reading glasses in middle age.
“Although I had glasses, I was forever losing them which drove me mad though when I heard about the Raindrop implant I was pretty sceptical I’m also quite squeamish and I really hated the idea of anything near my eye but I plucked up courage and thought I’d give it a go.”
Mark Wevill, of Space Healthcare Clinic in Leamington Spa, which is offering the surgery, said: “Raindrop can’t stop eyes from ageing” but it can help correct the natural deterioration in eyesight caused by the ageing process.”
The clinic says the operation is less invasive than other laser eye surgery procedures and is also reversible.
Although they cannot say exactly how long it will last, they believe the inlay may remain in position for many years and only need to be removed if other eye conditions develop later in life.
The clinic says most people can see objects up close almost immediately after the procedure and their near sight continues to improve over the following weeks and months.”
For Mr Pawsey, one benefit was the lack of disruption to his busy life.
“Before, I was straining to read or having to fumble for my glasses to read restaurant menus or identify watch specifications. I could see a bit better within a day or two but it took me almost two weeks to get properly used to it.
“Best of all, I haven’t needed glasses since and it’s really transformed my life.”