Intraocular contact lenses
An intraocular lens is a permanent, artificial lens which is surgically implanted in the eye and is most commonly used to restore vision to patients suffering from cataracts. The procedure is also proven to be the most effective way of treating patients suffering from refractive diseases such as near or short-sightedness making it popular among patients who struggle with external contact lenses and corrective glasses.
The hard wearing artificial lens is used to replace the crystalline lens of the eye offering patients a new lease on life. They are typically monofocal (set for one distance) so patients often still require the use of reading glasses after surgery, however for some patients multifocal lenses may be suitable providing clear vision at a range of distances
Prior the procedure you will meet with the surgeon to accurately determine the required focussing power of the intraocular lens. The procedure itself can be performed under local anaesthetic within about thirty minutes with the patient still awake. The flexible intraocular lens is inserted into the capsular bag of the eye through a tiny incision and rolled out into place. The incision is small enough that it usually heals by itself without the need for stitches and the lens is also made from neutral materials eliminating the risk of rejection.
After your surgery
Following your operation you should avoid strenuous exercise or any activities that are likely to cause an increase in blood pressure. Patients may also need to meet with their ophthalmologists several times following their surgery to monitor the implants and ensure the procedure was successful. Full recovery typically take 2 – 3 weeks.
Long term outcome
Intraocular lens implants are widely considered to more effective than other corrective surgeries such as LASIK vision correction. The small size of the incision means that stitches are not required allowing for a rapid and stable recovery. Vision restoration is typically immediate and complete in 90% of patients and the procedure can be used to treat more severe forms of myopathy that usually can’t be corrected using Lasik eye surgery (-3.0 D to -20.0 D). There is minimal damage to endothelial cells and the procedure is also reversible if complications do arise.
Complications related to intraocular contact lens implants are very rare with risks of less than 1% for complications such as corneal swelling and retinal detachment. In a very small number of cases an increase in intraocular pressure can lead to glaucoma and due to the implantation of an artificial lens the ability of the eye to focus at different distances may also be compromised. Astigmatism, where vision is blurred due to the incapability of the eye to form a clear image on the retina, is another risk that arises in a very small percentage of patients who undergo surgery. Cataracts very rarely return as the defected lens is removed and replaced.