(HealthDay News) — A new implantable eye device might make reading glasses a thing of the past, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, held from October 18–21 in Chicago.

Presbyopia affects more than one billion people worldwide. New products designed to treat the condition include a thin ring inserted into the cornea of the eye that adjusts the depth of field to enable a person with presbyopia to see near and far. The KAMRA device can be implanted in about 10 minutes with only topical anesthesia, its developers say.

The device was tested in more than 500 patients, aged 45–60, with presbyopia who were not nearsighted. Three years of follow-up showed that the device enabled 83 percent of the patients to see with 20/40 vision. This meant they could read a newspaper or drive a vehicle without corrective lenses, according to the researchers. If complications occur, the device can be removed, making it a reversible treatment.

“This is a solution that truly delivers near vision that transitions smoothly to far distance vision,” study author John Vukich, MD, a clinical adjunct professor in ophthalmology and vision sciences at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, said in an academy news release. “Corneal inlays represent a great opportunity to improve vision with a safety net of removability.”

KAMRA is available in Asia, Europe, and South America, but has not yet been approved in the United States. Two other types of corneal inlays are also being developed for the U.S. market.

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