Westlake Village eye surgeon offers procedure to restore fine-print vision

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. (KABC) -- It's something that happens with age - you have to look at a menu at arm's length - and it's because your eyes can no longer focus like they used to.

But now, a local doctor is the first to offer a new procedure that can restore your fine-print vision.

Just minutes before his procedure, Christian Wilson read the label on a small bottle of eye drops. He struggled and said the fine print on the label just looked like a blur to him.

Wilson is an optometrist, but hates wearing reading glasses. As he and millions got older, so did the rigidity of his lenses that, with age, resulted in the loss of his ability to read fine print.

"It just went poof! Like the rest of my body. It just went blah," Wilson said.

The condition is called presbyopia and it makes it difficult to see things up close.

Dr. Paul Dougherty, medical director of Dougherty Laser Vision in Westlake Village, said buying reading glasses can be difficult for some.

"It makes you feel like you're aging when you have to buy reading glasses," he said.

Dougherty said a new procedure can reverse that. He inserted a tiny inlay called Raindrop just underneath the surface of Christian's left eye. First he created a flap.

"We then place the Raindrop, which is a 2mm implant, on the surface of the cornea, which is the clear window in the front. Then we flip the flap back on the surface of the eye," he said.

Raindrop is half the thickness of a human hair and about the size of a pinhead. It doesn't contain a prescription. The Raindrop inlay simply changes the shape of a person's cornea.

The device is for people over 40, who don't already wear glasses or contacts or those who've had Lasik.

"It puts your vision back to when you were in your 30s and 40s without taking away significant distant vision," Dougherty said.

The FDA approved the device in June. Studies show 92 percent of patients were able to see with 20/40 vision or better.

Side effects include worsening of glare and halos, risk of infection or inflammation and dry eye. The procedure costs $5,000.

Minutes after the procedure, Christian read the label again and he was able to decipher every ingredient despite the tiny lettering.

A few hours after the procedure, Christian headed back at work.
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