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What are Intraocular Lenses? by Megan Eaton

Posted by at 8:51 am 0 Comment Print

Intraocular lenses have been around for a little over 60 years but have helped millions of people ranging in age. Many people have different kinds of issues with their eyes that impair their vision. Before intraocular lenses were invented, individuals with cataracts would have their cataracts removed and nothing would replace the lens. They would need glasses with thick lenses or need to wear contacts.

Intraocular lenses can help many cases of eye issues that people may have such as cataracts or nearsightedness. A cataract can cause cloudiness in an eye, blocking the normal passage of light through an eye. When these lenses are used for cataracts, the eye’s natural lens is removed and replaced by the intraocular lens. If someone were to have both issues with their eyes, the lenses can help to fix both problems. A doctor can determine which type of lens may work for you, due to there being a variety available. The type of lens a patient may get depends on their vision needs and lifestyle. Nearsightedness is when a person cannot focus on objects that are distant to them.

There are different kinds of lenses to consider when getting intraocular lenses placed in your eye. If you are in need of both eye lenses replaced, your doctor may recommend getting “monovision” because it helps with seeing things that are near and far away. One eye lens is used for distance and placed in one eye. The other is used for things that are near and placed in the other eye. These may cause problems with depth perception. There are multifocal lenses are used for both distance and near vision. With these, objects that are both near and far can be in focus. Monofocal lenses are another choice that a patient has. It is designed for either near or far vision, not both. After surgery glasses may be needed. Toric intraocular lenses help with astigmatism.

The most common surgical procedure in the United States with nearly 3 million operations performed annually is cataract removal surgery. An intraocular lens works the same way your natural lens in your eye works. It focuses the light that comes into your eye through the cornea and pupil onto the retina, then the tissue at the back of the eye that relays images through the optic nerve to the brain. The lenses are made of flexible material and are the third of the size of a dime. The lens naturally fits into place where your natural lens was before they removed it. When the natural lens in your eye is replaced by the intraocular lens it is called “clear lens extraction”. However, when the natural lens of a patient’s eye is not removed, the intraocular lens that are placed into the eye are called “phakic intraocular lens”. These lenses are placed in front of the natural lens of the patient’s eye.

Before there were intraocular lenses, people would need to wear thick glasses or contact lenses to be able to see after cataract surgery. Since the invention of these lenses, people are able to see without these extra necessities and have improved vision. The lenses are made out of materials such as silicone, PMMA, and acrylic. The artificial lenses have the ability to bend light. This helps to focus images and light rays on the retina. The first artificial lens was implanted in London in 1949 by Dr. Harold Ridley. In United States the first lens was implanted in 1952 at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia. These lenses have been around since the early 50s, but the first FDA approval for one occurred in 1951.






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