Phakic Intraocular Lenses
People that are nearsighted used to only have a few options for vision correction. They could either wear glasses or contact lenses. Recent technological advances and innovations have increased the options that people with poor vision have available. One of these recent advances are phakic intraocular lenses. These lenses are an alternative to traditional glasses and contacts.
What are Phakic Lenses?
Phakic lenses are plastic or silicone contact lenses that can be implanted into the eye. They then become a permanent part of the eye and can greatly reduce the need for traditional glasses or contacts. They are called phakic lenses because they can be implanted into the eye without removing the eye’s natural lens.
Phakic lenses are primarily used to treat nearsightedness. People that are nearsighted have a difficult time seeing objects that are far away. The lenses help the eye to better focus and correct refractive errors. Refractive error is a technical term for errors in the eye’s focusing ability.
What Other Solutions Are Available for Nearsightedness?
Phakic lenses are an effective solution to nearsightedness, but they aren’t the option. People that do not want to undergo surgery can wear glasses or contact lenses to receive vision correction. Some people get LASIK surgery which is a type of laser surgery to improve vision and others undergo a procedure known as PRK or photorefractive keratectomy. Your eye doctor will be able to help you choose the right vision correction option for your situation.
How Are These Lenses Implanted?
Implanting phakic lenses requires a surgical procedure. The procedure will take about 30 minutes. Patients are generally not put to sleep for this procedure and must be able to lay flat on their backs for a period of time. The surgeon will numb the eye and may inject a substance that will take vision away during the procedure. Then they will use a tool to hold the eyelid open during the procedure.
Once the eye is prepared a small slit will be cut in the eye and the lens will be inserted through this slit. The incision will be closed and eye drops may be applied. Following the surgery an eye patch will be needed for several hours while the eye heals. There may be slight pain after the procedure and you may need to take antibiotics for several days to ensure that the eye does not become infected.
What Are the Risks Associated with Phakic Lenses?
There are risks involved any time that a surgery is performed and phakic lenses are no different. When undergoing this procedure you are at an increased risk for vision loss and other eye problems including seeing halos, spots, double vision or glare. Some patients need additional surgeries to correct problems caused by the initial surgery or to reposition or remove the implant. Patients that undergo surgery may also experience increased eye pressure, cataracts, clouding of the cornea, infection, bleeding in the eye or retinal detachment. Also if the lens that is implanted is too strong or too weak corrective lenses might still be needed. Phakic lenses are new and may have additional long term risks that have not been discovered.
How Do You Care for Phakic Lenses After Implantation?
After surgery you will be asked to visit your doctor several times during the first few months. It is important to attend all of your eye appointment since they are essential in ensuring that your eyes are healing properly. It will take about two to four weeks for your vision to stabilize. It is important not to rub your eyes during the healing period.
Once your vision has stabilized you will still need to take special care of your implanted lenses. People with phakic lenses will need lifelong monitoring of their eyes by a doctor. This is especially critical since these lenses are new and have only been approved by the FDA recently. There may be risks associated with these lenses that are not yet known and careful monitoring will help you to get treatment quickly if problems should arise. Additionally it is important to tell any eye doctor that you see about these lenses. Protect your eyes from damage by wearing safety goggles when participating in sports or when doing construction work.
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