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Nice to see you, to see you nice! The thing is, for people with cataracts, presbyopia or problematic eye lenses, seeing you is more difficult than usual. Trendy glasses or shiny new contacts might not greatly help the situation, so by taking the old lenses out and implanting new intraocular lenses, the eyes are completely transformed, making the natural focusing ability of the eye work again.
These tiny prescription lenses replace the eye’s natural lens, placed in the centre of the pupil behind the iris. Most commonly replaced during cataract surgery, intraocular lenses are inserted through a tiny incision and are a safe and permanent way of removing that cloudy sight and providing the eye with a brand new tool to see much clearer. A form of refractive surgery, intraocular lenses can come in many shapes, sizes and types, and can be hugely beneficial to a person’s sight.
There are three main types of lenses at all distances offered to patients: monofocal lenses offering vision at one distance only without glasses or contacts; multifocal lenses providing far and reading distances, and adaptive lenses made from materials such as PMMA, acrylic and silicone because they are soft, foldable and inert. PMMA and acrylic lenses are a better choice for those with a history of uveitis or diabetic retinopathy, but acrylic is an expensive choice of material.
Multifocal lenses are the most popular, with three sub-types to suit many different visual needs. Multifocal Refractive lenses are designed with several optical zones on the lens, providing various focal points which allow for visual improvement in all distances. Apodized Diffractive Multifocal lenses have gradual diffractive zones on the lens that create a smooth transition between focal points, and bends incoming light to multiple points on the lens to increase vision in various lighting. The newest type of multifocal is the Accommodative lens, which has one focal point but it cleverly acts as if it has several. Designed with a hinge similar to the eye’s natural lens, it uses the eye’s muscles to shift focus.
If you suffer from cataracts, presbytopia or astigmatism, then intraocular lenses may be a good choice for you to improve your sight without the need for glasses or contacts. Seen as a good laser alternative to vision enhancement, intraocular lenses have many benefits. Some include:
The first person to successfully implant an intraocular lens was Sir Harold Ridley at St Thomas’ Hospital, London in 1949. The first lenses were made from glass, which were prone to shattering, and then made from plastic. Because of the delicate nature of our eyes, FDA tests are carried out frequently to ensure that the lens materials are safe and effective long-term.