Vision Correction Options
Laser vision correction is often the right option for patients who are considering refractive surgery to improve their vision. However, patients with higher degrees of nearsightedness or farsightedness or patients with irregularly shaped corneas may not be good candidates for laser vision correction. Patients experiencing increasingly cloudy vision and suffering from cataracts may not be a candidate for laser vision correction either. For these patients, special surgical lens implants may be the best option.
Is an Intraocular Lens Right for Me?
If you rely on contact lenses or eyeglasses to see both at a distance and up-close while reading or have noticed that your prescription continues to increase in strength, yet your vision continues to worsen, you might be a candidate for a refractive lens exchange. Whether you have cataracts, protein buildup that causes clouding in the eyes or an irregular shaped cornea that causes higher degrees of nearsightedness or farsightedness, a lens implant procedure where the eyes’ natural lenses are replaced with artificial intraocular lenses (IOL) might be right for you.
Like laser vision correction, a lens implant procedure alters the way that light rays enter the eye, allowing for a sharper focus on the retina. Unlike laser vision correction there is no use of a laser to reshape the cornea, but instead a special lens, functioning like a contact lens, is placed inside of the eye, with or without the removal of the patient’s natural lens. These lenses are FDA approved to be safe and effective.
Candidates for IOL’s
The best way to learn whether you are a candidate for implantable contact lenses (ICL’s) is to schedule a consultation with an eye care specialist at Advanced Laser Center. Ideal candidates for intraocular lens implants include individuals who:
- Are over the age of 18
- Have strong prescriptions for nearsightedness and/or farsightedness
- Want to correct ability to see at varying distances, including presbyopia – ability to focus on objects up close due to loss of elasticity
- Do not have any serious eye conditions
- Want to be independent of contact lenses and glasses
- Are in relatively good health
- Have been diagnosed with cataracts
- Do not have any existing medical eye conditions
Implantable Contact Lens Options
There are many different types of implantable contact lenses (ICL’s) that improve the eye’s ability to see clearly at varying distances and in various types of lighting without eyeglasses, thus eliminating the need for bifocals. These advanced lens implants can treat your nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. In addition, there may be special lens options that can help improve up close and intermediate distances too. Generally, lenses fall into two categories: Phakic Intraocular Lenses or a Refractive Lens Exchange.
Phakic Intraocular Lenses (Phakic IOL), which resemble contact lenses, are inserted into the eye in front of the eye’s natural lens. One of the primary benefits of the Phakic IOL is that it allows for your natural lens to remain in place, keeping your natural ability to accommodate (see up close). For this reason, the best candidates for a Phakic IOL procedure are adults 21-45 years of age with a stable, nearsighted prescription. The Phakic IOL can be removed or replaced if it becomes necessary in the future. Additionally, the Phakic IOL does not permanently change the shape or structures of the eye like Laser Vision Correction would.
A Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) is a procedure in which the natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens. The RLE procedure, depending on the choice of lens, serves to correct for refractive problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism or presbyopia. Patients electing to have an RLE procedure are typically farsighted or over 40 and are looking to have their vision improved at all distances: near, intermediate and far.
Intraocular lenses are an excellent choice for patients needing lens replacement due to cataracts. Many of these same implantable contact lenses are currently being used in cataract surgeries, with millions of cataract procedures done each year in North America alone. These state-of-the-art lens implants also allow patients to see at varying distances without the aid of contact lenses or eyeglasses.
Intraocular Lens Procedure
The first step in the process involves a one-on-one consultation with an Advanced Laser & Cataract eye care specialist, during which we will inquire regarding your lifestyle and medical history, and will evaluate your condition. We will then map out the best course of action for meeting your needs. The procedure lasts approximately 10 minutes and is performed as follows:
- Numbing eye drops are placed in the eye for optimal patient comfort
- A tiny incision is made on the eye’s cornea
- Using special instruments, the natural lens is removed from the eye
- The IOL is folded and inserted through the incision
- The lens unfolds once in its correct position
- A protective shield is placed over the eye
The patient should arrange for someone to drive him or her home after the procedure, and plan to rest for the remainder of the day. Advanced Laser & Cataract Center staff will provide proper aftercare instructions, including, taking prescribed eye drops and avoiding touching or scratching the eyes.
Patients may experience some mild discomfort or redness immediately following the procedure. However, symptoms are generally temporary and can be alleviated with prescribed eye drops.
With any surgery, it is important to be well-informed of risks before deciding whether it is right for you. The staff at Advanced Laser & Cataract Center will discuss any potential complications associated with implantation surgery, such as infection or inflammation.
Advanced Laser & Cataract Center specializes in all types of refractive surgery, including lens implant procedures and can help you determine the best choice of correction for your visual requirements and lifestyle. To learn more about the intraocular lens procedure, contact our Oklahoma City eye center today!