It’s a normal, albeit frustrating, part of aging. At around age 40, seeing up close without reading glasses becomes more difficult. Known as presbyopia, this is when the eye’s lens isn’t as flexible as it used to be, and near vision becomes blurry. Researchers are exploring ways to treat presbyopia and eliminate the need for reading glasses. One of these new techniques, called PEARL, shows promising results
PEARL (PrEsbyopic Allogenic Refractive Lenticule) is a procedure that places a small piece of tissue from one part of the cornea into another part. This inlay changes the shape of the cornea, improving near vision.
With the PEARL procedure, the eye surgeon uses a laser to make a small cut in the cornea. A small disc of corneal tissue, called a lenticule, is removed through this cut. The lenticule is sculpted and reshaped with a laser, then placed into a small pocket made in the patient’s cornea.
PEARL may offer safety advantages over artificial corneal inlays for presbyopia. Because the inlay is made of the patient’s own tissue, it is biologically compatible, making it less likely to cause complications. The corneal tissue inlay is expected to allow oxygen and nutrients to flow through the patient’s cornea better than a synthetic inlay, helping to keep the cornea healthier.
The research is being led by Soosan Jacob, MD, FRCS, DNB, at Dr. Agarwal’s Refractive and Cornea Foundation in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.