Lens replacement (intraocular lenses)

What are intraocular lenses?    

Intraocular lenses (IOLs) are lenses used to replace damaged lenses. They are placed in the eye so that the light that enters goes to the retina.

There are two types of intraocular lenses:

  • Phakic: these are placed without having to take the lens out.
  • Pseudophakic: these are placed after the lens is removed. An example is during cataract surgery.   

They tend to be made from flexible and foldable material which are the same size as the original lens. The lenses implanted can also be multifocal intraocular lenses or toric intraocular lenses.

The procedure is normally carried out under topical anaesthetic which is administered in drops. It is a painless procedure that is done on an outpatient basis, and doesn’t require the eye to be covered for longer than half an hour afterwards. 

Why would you do it?

Intraocular lenses tend to be used in cases of cataractsmyopia, or other visual disorders. Another reason intraocular lenses are used is for patients without presbyopia. This preserves the lens and corrects different refractive errors. The patient can return to normal life shortly after surgery.

What does it involve?  

Intraocular lenses are implanted in the eye during cataract surgery to replace the natural lens.    

How to prepare for it

An ophthalmologist will run a series of tests to determine patient suitability and what the best option is according to their needs.     

The depth of the anterior chamber is measured to ensure that the intraocular lens fits the eye without altering anatomical structures.         

Post-operative care 

The post-operative period is short, and the patient can return to normal life and continue with daily activities without any issues.

Complete bed rest is not necessary after the procedure, just take care to avoid traumas and apply eye drops. The application of the drops will depend on the procedure that has been done. They tend to be applied two to four times a day for the three weeks following the surgery.   

Alternative treatments 

Laser refractive surgery may be considered. This type of surgery reshapes the cornea (which is responsible for our vision) using a laser. Corneal tissues are lifted to do this, they will be replaced after surgery and do not require stitches.