Corneal Inlays and Onlays

Corneal Inlays and Onlays

Surgeries using corneal inlays and onlays are still in the experimental stages. The U.S. FDA has not yet approved the technology, but clinical trials for some devices are underway.

What are corneal inlays and onlays?
Corneal inlays and onlays are small devices made of biocompatible materials that can be surgically inserted into the cornea to improve vision. Onlays are inserted into a surgically created pocket in the surface layer (epithelium) of the cornea, while inlays are placed into a deeper layer of the cornea (stroma) under a corneal flap.

One device under development
The ACI 7000, a corneal inlay developed by AcuFocus (which has a business alliance with Bausch & Lomb), began clinical trials in early 2006. This inlay, only 10 microns thick and made of a polymer called Kynar, is designed to correct presbyopia by blocking certain light rays reflecting from near objects. The insertion procedure takes just 15 minutes and only requires topical anesthesia (eye drops). Early results are very promising.

Possible benefits
While the technology is still experimental, doctors are optimistic that corneal inlays and onlays could have some or all of the following advantages over traditional refractive surgery:

  • Less invasive
  • Less complications
  • Better treatment for degrading eyesight due to aging
  • Could be sculpted with lasers (as in LASIK) instead of the natural eye tissue

Learn more about corneal inlays and onlays on our forums!