Lasik eye surgery revolutionized long distance eye sight, helping patients achieve 20/20 vision almost immediately. Now, the man who first brought Lasik to D.C. is introducing a new procedure he said will do the same thing for people who want to throw away their reading glasses.
Dr. Jennifer Sokolosky operates a busy adult and pediatric dental practice in Clarksville, MD. She has no time to waste tending to 40-patients a day, but her dependency on reading glasses was slowing her down.
“I had to put my loops on and then I'd have to take them off and then I'd have to put back on my reading glasses,” Sokolosky said. “It was difficult going back and forth.”
The same was true for Joann Mirgan-Erb. She couldn't do anything without her reading glasses
“My arms had not been long enough after a while in my 40s to see those menus and my girlfriends got tired of giving me their reading glasses,” Mirgan-Erb said.
Dr. Shilpa Rose is with Eye Associates of Washington D.C. She said the women were experiencing presbyopia. It's a condition that comes with age.
“The lens inside the eye becomes hard and does not want to bend,” Rose said. “So things that were easy to read close up become harder.”
Since they both had healthy eyes, no glaucoma, cataracts or diabetes, Dr. Rose recommended a new corrective procedure called Raindrop Near Vision In Lay. It reduces or eliminates the need for reading glasses.
Dr. Mark Whitten, who introduced Lasik to DC and operated on Tiger Woods, calls Raindrop a game changer.
“It's a completely new concept, a new idea that we can fix reading vision at the same time you keep your distance vision,” Whitten said.
Dr. Whitten uses a special laser to create a Lasik-like flap just beneath the surface of the eye. He then inserts a tiny pinhead size disc, similar to a soft contact, into the patient's non dominant eye. This creates a subtle change in the shape of the cornea---enough to improve near vision reading.
Joann was awake during the entire 15 minute operation. She was able to read small print without effort immediately after it was finished.
Three months after Raindrop, Dr. Sokolosky said one patient’s near and far vision remain perfectly clear.
“I'm thrilled. I just don't use these; I don't want these...never again," Sokolosky said.
Lasik is not a prerequisite for Raindrop but both patients chose to correct their long distance vision during their surgeries.
The average price for Raindrop ranges from 4-5-thousand dollars. While FDA approved, it is not covered by insurance.