Phakic Intraocular Lens Implants

When light enters the eye it is focused on a photosensitive retina to provide clear vision. Abnormalities in the cornea (transparent outer layer of the eye) such as excessive curvature (near-sightedness) or dryness causes light to focus before or after the retina, resulting in blurred vision. Phakic intraocular lenses (IOL) are implants placed in your eye to correct vision abnormalities. Similar to contact lenses, phakic lenses help in focusing light accurately on the retina, but work from within your eyes instead of on the surface.

Phakic intraocular lenses are recommended for moderate to severe cases of near-sightedness, and extremely thin or dry corneas unsuitable for laser refractive surgery. You should ideally be between the ages of 21 to 40 and should not have any eye conditions such as cataract (cloudiness of the natural lens), glaucoma (increased pressure within the eye), presbyopia (lens hardening with age) or eye infections.

Before implanting the IOL, you are instructed to stop wearing contact lenses for a period of time. A preliminary procedure known as an iridotomy may be performed, where a hole is created in the periphery of the iris to control fluid pressures within the eye following lens implantation.

For the lens implantation procedure, your doctor instils anaesthetic eye drops. A sedative may also be administered to help you relax. A lid speculum keeps your eye open as a tiny incision is made in the cornea and a folded intraocular lens is inserted either between your cornea and iris (pigmented part of the eye) or between the iris and the natural lens. Your natural lens is not removed. The IOL then unfolds and may or may not be fixed with sutures. The incision is then closed and your eye is covered with a shield.

The procedure takes about 10 to 30 minutes, and you can return home on the same day. Phakic intraocular lens implant is a permanent treatment for near-sightedness, and usually does not require any maintenance other than regular eye exams. Vision may improve immediately after the procedure or within 2 to 4 weeks.

As with any surgical procedure, certain complications may occur. These are generally rare and may include damage to the retina, blurred vision, halo or glare, and the development of cataract or glaucoma.

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