As we get older, the natural lenses of our eyes get stiffer. When we are young, the lenses are flexible and allow a range of focusing power. The stiffening of the lens fibers leads to presbyopia, which is a natural loss in the ability of our eyes to adjust our near focus from the distance. Most people over 40 start to experience some symptoms of this – when they have got good vision at distance, they have a harder time seeing details at near. There are now surgical options for presbyopia including monovision laser vision correction and refractive lens exchange.
Refractive Lens Exchange
Refractive lens exchange allows patients a clear alternative to reading glasses or bifocals. The implantation of an advanced multifocal intraocular lens such as the ReStor® (http://www.acrysofrestor.com) can reduce or eliminate near vision problems by replacing the eye's natural, poorly functioning lens.
While LASIK concentrates on correcting the cornea, refractive lens exchange replaces the natural lens of your eye with an advanced multifocal or accommodating intraocular lens (IOL), allowing clear vision up close and far away. Additionally, patients undergoing the refractive lens exchange procedure will never have to worry about cataracts as they age, since the advanced refractive lens exchange lens will remain clear.
Refractive lens exchange works best for older patients who are hyperopic (farsighted) or myopic (nearsighted) and want to lessen their dependence on reading glasses.
The Refractive Lens Exchange Procedure
The surgical procedure for Refractive Lens Exchange is in many ways identical to usual cataract surgery. A small incision is made at the edge of the cornea. A special probe is inserted through the incision to gently break up and suction out the damaged lens. The intraocular lens implant is then inserted into place. The entire refractive lens exchange procedure is completed in about 15 minutes, and visual recovery is rapid.
What Are the Benefits of Refractive Lens Exchange?
- Quick visual recovery
- Permanent results without the use of a laser
- Eliminates the need for cataract surgery in the future
- Can completely eliminate dependence on glasses and contact lenses