Refractive Lens Extraction and Lens Implant Surgery
Alternative to LASIK laser vision correction to reduce dependence on glasses or contact lenses
In the last few years, clear lens extraction and lens implant surgery has become an acceptable alternative technique to LASIK laser vision correction for reducing dependence upon glasses or contact lenses in some patients. This is essentially the same surgery as cataract and lens implant surgery; however, it is performed on a patient before the lens becomes cloudy with cataract. The risks associated with this surgery are the same as those associated with cataract and lens implant surgery, which has been performed by the present techniques for the last 20 years. Therefore, the long-term risks are known and remain low after lens implant surgery.
At present, lens extraction and lens implant surgery is probably the best, or perhaps the only, refractive surgical alternative for patients wearing high-plus lens glasses corrections (over +4.5 diopters). Patients in this range of refractive error (glasses) have the lowest risk of long-term complications after lens extraction and lens implant surgery. Although LASIK laser vision correction works very well for patients with low to moderately high degrees of nearsightedness (1.0 to 10.0 diopters), extremely nearsighted patients (over 10.0 diopters) may have more risk of complications after LASIK surgery.
Also, the quality of vision is not as good as in patients with lower degrees of nearsightedness. In these extremely nearsighted patients, lens extraction and lens implant surgery is an alternative, which also provides a better quality of vision. However, upon having the natural lens removed from the eye, highly nearsighted patients run increased risks of torn retinas and detachment of the retina over the long term. These risks must be carefully considered before surgery and the retina carefully monitored after surgery if surgery is undertaken to correct the extreme nearsightedness.
Newer types of lens implants that can be implanted in the eye without lens extraction are being developed and used in extremely nearsighted patients. These lenses have been approved by the FDA for widespread use at this time.
These refractive lens implants are placed in the eye surgically without having to remove the natural lens of the eye. These implants have less risk of detachment of the retina after surgery in these highly nearsighted eyes. The Eye Specialists of Mid-Florida, P.A. surgeons attend educational courses at least every six months, and have these FDA-approved implants available for our patients desiring this type of refractive lens implant surgery.
LASIK laser vision correction remains the best alternative for patients with low to moderately high degrees of nearsightedness (1.0 to 10.0 diopters). However, even in this range of nearsightedness, patients over 50 years of age become dependent upon reading glasses whether LASIK laser vision correction or lens extraction and lens implant surgery is used to correct their distance vision. In these patients, lens extraction and refractive lens implants eliminate later cataract development.
Developments are occurring rapidly in refractive surgery, both in the area of LASIK laser vision correction and in refractive lens implants. Therefore, any person considering refractive surgery should thoroughly discuss all of these alternatives with his/her eye doctor. Our desire at the Eye Specialists of Mid-Florida, P.A., is to inform our patients as thoroughly as possible about their alternatives for vision correction, whether glasses, contact lenses or surgery (LASIK or lens implant), and assist the patient in making the best decision for his/her personal situation. Please feel free to ask our staff or doctors about the most up-to-date information regarding any of these refractive surgical techniques.