In a GMA exclusive interview, Dr. Andrew Holzman discusses the KAMRA™ Inlay procedure. His patient, Donna, chose to undergo the surgery to lessen her dependence on reading glasses. The revolutionary procedure takes just 20 minutes to perform and can have life-changing effects for the right patients.
George: We're going to move on now to a GMA exclusive. Medical breakthrough for millions of Americans who need reading glasses. A new surgery that could replace them for good. Mara Schiavocampo back with the details. Hey Mara.
Mara: Hey, George, good morning. Well, you know, it's estimated that more than a billion people worldwide have trouble focusing on things close up. They need these reading glasses. You know, for like that tiny magazine print or the clasp on a piece of jewelry. Well now a new procedure is giving some people the gift of better sight without the hassle of the glasses. Those ever elusive reading glasses, something that millions of Americans deal with every day, even Hollywood stars.
Denzel: Yeah, I do need my glasses. What? Come here.
Pauletta: I don't have mine either.
Denzel: Oh you don't have yours either?
Mara: Fifty-one year old Donna Glenn was fed up.
Donna: I had to put reading glasses on for every near task. And reading glasses are traditionally never where you want them to be. You're always searching for them.
Mara: That's when Donna's eye doctor, Dr. Andrew Holzman of TLC Vision, stepped in with a new solution. A procedure called the KAMRA Inlay.
Dr. Holzman: This technology addresses a major concern because the age related decline in near vision affects everyone. It starts in our 40s, continues on into our 50s and 60s.
Mara: But how exactly does this revolutionary technology work?
Dr. Holzman: The KAMRA Inlay is a small plastic like disc about one-third the size of a contact lens and about one-fourth the thickness of a human hair. So it's very small. It has a small central opening right in the middle and what we do is we implant it into the cornea. What this does is it blocks the unfocused rays of light from entering the eye and only allows the focused rays of light through. Which means they're able to see a full range of vision from distance to near clearly.
Mara: And in a TV first, our cameras take you into the OR as Christine Clement has the inlay implanted into just one eye. Dr. Holzman says that's all that's needed for the procedure to work.
Dr. Holzman: The procedure takes approximately 20 minutes to perform. The patient doesn't feel anything. All right. Nice and steady now.
Mara: The post-op recovery?
Dr. Holzman: We tell the patient to go home, take a nap and then they start using their eye drops. And the nicest part about it is if the patient doesn't like it, it is a reversible procedure.
Mara: But some of the risks include the possibility that vision may not return to normal even after the procedure is reversed. It can take up to a month for a patient to realize the full effect of the inlay which costs around $5,000 and is typically not covered by insurance. Still, for Donna Glenn, the high cost was worth it to refocus on her life.
Donna: Working on the computer, I'm cooking, I can see my recipes, I can read the ingredient labels at the grocery store, everything I need to do. I don't even know where my reading glasses are and I don't care. I'm very happy.
Mara: So back to that price tag. That $5,000. It costs about on average $200 to buy a pair of reading glasses, so a prescription reading glasses. So here we have 25 reading glasses. That's how many you could buy with that $5,000. So it isn't cheap but the people who had it done say that they're paying for the convenience of never having to search for those reading glasses.
George: You don't have to put the glasses on every stop along your day.
Mara: Exactly. You can just pick up what you need, look at it, you read that fine print and you're good to go.
George: Okay, Mara, thanks very much.
Mara: Thanks George.
George: Let's go outside to Rob.