Laser surgery addresses near vision

Dr. Stanley Teplick, a Beaverton ophthalmologist, is the first eye surgeon in the Pacific Northwest to perform a laser surgery that corrects near vision.

There’s good news for people who depend upon reading glasses, and are tired of carrying them around the neck, on top of the head or in the car. It can be frustrating.

Yet, loss of close-up vision, called presbyopia, is a natural, universal sign of aging that occurs for both men and women around the age of 45. This loss of near-sight vision is the result of loss of flexibility in the eye’s lens, and the ability to focus on objects like books, newspapers and computers becomes a problem. It happens to everyone.

So, it’s no wonder that when local ophthalmologist Stanley Teplick does a new procedure on his patients to correct presbyopia, the first word he usually hears is, “Wow,” followed by “Why did I wait so long?”

Teplick is the first eye surgeon in the Pacific Northwest to perform the surgery, known as 5 Raindrop Near Vision Inlay, or KAMRA. He currently is the only certified KAMRA and Raindrop surgeon in Oregon.

The two procedures are quite similar, only differing on the needs of the patient — some who’ve already had a laser-corrective surgery, and those whose distance vision is fine, but are having trouble with near-vision.

He’s also worked with his staff at Teplick Custom Vision for more than 15 years, and is a nationally-recognized LASIK expert with more than 30 years of experience in both New Orleans and Beaverton.

The Raindrop procedure takes about 10 minutes and the results are quick. The inlay is a tiny disc, almost invisible, that is placed beneath the surface of the eye. It works by gently changing the central curvature of the cornea, or clear front part of the eye.

As with all surgeries, there is a healing process while the eye adjusts.

The Raindrop disc is implanted only in one eye, but both eyes work together to create one image. The Raindrop eye provides an improvement in near vision associated with a slight decrease in distance vision. The new inlay is bioengineered to facilitate the transport of nutrients and fluid to the eye. It also works well in low light.

Teplick says potential candidates are those who need reading glasses for daily tasks, from reading on a mobile phone, a menu, the fine print and other close-up work.

Most patients who have the surgery gain five lines of near vision on an eye chart without the need for reading glasses within one week, and their vision continues to improve for several weeks.

The procedure is deemed safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It was tested for five years before approval, although the procedure, Teplick says, has already been done in Europe for several years.

The idea for near-vision corrective surgery has taken about 10 years from idea to fruition.

“We’ve been doing vision correction for 30 to 40 years, even longer, but we never had a good technology to address the issue that Raindrop does,” he says. “To restore that near vision, this is the ‘missing grail’ for most of our fields.”

Most of his patients have already had the laser-corrective surgery, Teplick says, and have a desire to stay away from needing glasses again. “They are the front line of patients,” he says.

The surgery is not approved for anyone who’s already had cataract surgery, although he says it is being done in Europe, and a surgeon can make decisions on a case-by-case basis on whether to do Raindrop surgery after cataracts.

Teplick is motivated by being able to improve his patients’ eyesight.

Raised in a family of doctors, he started in internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic. But after a round in the cancer ward, Teplick decided he didn’t want to continue in that field.

“I felt that as an ophthalmologist I could help people with a problem that was unique, varied and had solutions,” he says. “Generally, they are happy afterwards. It’s not a chronic illness. Most medicine is palliative while this was curative.”

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