This refers to surgery undertaken to replace a patient's own lens with a lens implant in order to improve the patient's visual performance, often overcoming the patient's reliance on glasses for distance e.g. for driving, or for near e.g. for reading.
Selecting the lens to replace the cloudy cataractous lens or a clear lens is an important part of achieving the optimal visual outcome. There are many lenses available and these are often referred to as lifestyle lenses as they may be customised to a patient's individual visual needs. It is for this reason that your surgeon needs to know what your visual requirements are for the activities you undertake.
These intraocular lenses (IOL) are made of soft foldable material that are easily inserted into the eye once the cataractoys lens or clear len has been removed. They are made of acrylic or silicone materials and are permanent.
This procedure is becoming more and more common, especially in those individuals were Laser vision correction is not appropriate. The results can be excellent.
What does this involve?
Refractive Lens surgery is effectively the same surgical procedure that patients undergo when having a cataract removed. It does not normally require a hospital stay as it involves a short operation of around twenty to thirty minutes, usually carried out under local anaesthetic, which ensures the operation is painless.
Your pupil is firstly dilated using special eyedrops. It is then anaesthetised either by using drops only or in some instances, an anaesthetic is administered through a tiny tube under the eye, without the need for any sharp needles. Although you may see some light and movement, you will not be able to see the surgery while it is happening, and you will not have to worry about keeping your eye open or closed
The natural lens will be removed ung a technique called microincisional cataract surgery and replaced with an artificial lens implant . This will be undertaken by using ultrasound to break the lens into pieces and then removing it through a small cut in your eye. This iscalled phacoemulsification. The cut is so small it does not require stitches in the vast majority of patients. Your new lens is then implanted into the same place that the natural lens occupied and is held in place by the original transparent lens membrane.
Once the operation is complete your eye will normally be covered by a clear plastic shield and given drops to prevent inflammation and infection.
When will I recover?
You should be able to go home a few hours after the surgery and you will need to use the prescribed eye drops and be careful not to rub or press on your eye. Your normal daily life can be resumed although you should avoid strenuous exercise for a couple of weeks.
Your vision should improve over the first 24 - 48 hours and we will normally see you again within the first week after the operation to check on your progress and provide any advice and support you need.
You should see your Optician four to five weeks after surgery to check your requirement for glasses - this delay allows your eye to fully settle before being assessed. The operation is designed to ensure you have good unaided distance vision though it can mean that reading glasses may be needed depending upon your normal quality of vision.
What risks should I know about?
Refractive Lens surgery is a regularly performed operation worldwide and is considered to be quite safe. Most patients do not suffer any complications or side effects but we should mention those complications that can occur, even though it is in less than 0.1% of occasions.
- Bleeding at the back of your eye which can disturb vision.
- Some pain after the operation which can be helped by over the counter pain medication.
- Infection inside the eye
- Tearing of the very delicate lens membrane that holds the new lens.
- Retinal detachment
Although these conditions are potentially treatable, they could, in some very extreme cases, result in loss of vision in the affected eye.
If you have been affected by any of the symptoms mentioned above, please don't hesitate to give us a call.
We have a team of experts on stand-by who are ready to take your call at our Manchester (0161 907 2685) Clinic or our Blackpool (01253 308 031) Clinic.