16 May 2017
While LASIK remains the most popular option for correcting vision, for those with a high level of correction or an abnormal cornea, lens-based refractive surgery such as clear lens extraction or Phakic IOL implantation may be better alternatives.
Unlike LASIK or PRK, Laser lens exchange can correct almost any degree of correction, just as long as suitably powered lenses are available.
Laser lens exchange uses the same successful and familiar techniques developed for cataract surgery to treat refractive errors. As a result, one might think Laser lens exchange is simply cataract surgery by another name. That may be so, however if being performed for the purposes of eliminating the need for glasses, then there are many other aspects to consider.
As laser lens exchange is performed solely for the purposes of vision correction, there is a need for accuracy on all fronts, from accurate measurements of the dimensions of the eye, through to the lens calculation. The choice of lens implant is also vital and much depends on the findings at consultation as well as visual needs and the current state of each eye’s optical system.
Cataract surgery is the most common elective operation in medicine. Over 400,000 procedures are performed annually in the UK, mainly in the National Health Service (NHS). The operation involves removing the offending misty or cloudy natural lens (cataract) and like Laser lens exchange, replacing this with an intraocular lens (IOL).
In the NHS, the lens typically used is a monofocal lens implant and this may not be calculated with the same level of detail. As a result, patients will obtain improved vision from both having their cloudy lens removed as well as hopefully better distance vision, however they will be dependent on glasses for reading and possibly even intermediate vision.
Premium laser refractive cataract surgery utilises the same principles as Laser Lens Exchange surgery and patients who undergo cataract surgery have the opportunity to have high performance lenses implanted to eliminate or dramatically reduce the need for glasses altogether.
So, where this type of premium or high performance surgery is undertaken (like Centre for Sight), the principles and procedure of both the Laser Lens Exchange and Cataract surgery are similar. Essentially more attention to detail through thorough preoperative diagnostics coupled with a choice of a high-performance lens to provide the patient with the best possible visual outcome along with freedom from optical aids.
So, what are the different types of lenses available?
Monofocal fixed-focus IOLs.
Monofocal lenses can provide clear vision at distance, intermediate or near ranges — but not all three at once.
Toric IOLs to correct astigmatism also are classified as monofocal IOLs.
Multifocal /Trifocal IOLs.
A multifocal lens provides clear vision at multiple distances.
An accommodating IOL is a type of monofocal lens that enables focus at multiple distances by change in position in the eye.
With intraocular lenses, there is no “one size fits all,” and your eye surgeon will recommend an IOL that is most suitable for your individual needs.
Find out which lenses are suitable for you. We will give you an idea of what eye procedure is best suited with some more details if you like.
This will serve as a guide only. It does not replace a thorough consultation by an ophthalmic surgeon who will determine what options are best for you.