Do Intraocular Lenses Expire? Here’s What You Need To Know
Modern medicine has allowed us to quickly and effectively remove any obstacle or dysfunction we may have in our bodies. What used to be painful, no longer is, what used to be complicated and difficult to solve, can now be fixed in a matter of minutes. For example, problems we face with eyesight ow have multiple solutions – glasses, contacts, laser surgeries, refractive lens exchange, and the list continues.
Glasses, however, are slowly becoming a burden to most people. Statistics from modern ophthalmology show the number of patients who want to get rid of their dependence on glasses or even contact lenses is increasing. Young people who are nearsighted, farsighted, or have some kind of astigmatism (irregular curvature of the cornea), but also middle-aged and elderly people who, in addition to distance aids, wear near-sighted glasses, often turn to find an alternative solution. All of them would like to make their daily life activities easier by not wearing glasses or at least reducing the time they need to wear them.
What is their alternative?
Laser is one of the solutions. With this procedure, patients over 18 years of age can remove diopters, and up to 5 D cylinders of astigmatism, depending on the quality and thickness of the cornea. The procedure is quick, painless, precise, and safe, and recovery takes only a few days. With the advancement of technology, this has become a routine operation. With the introduction of a fast laser (femtosecond laser), which makes even thinner and more regular corneal covers, recovery after the procedure lasts two to three days, which is especially important for people who have to resume their work activities as soon as possible.
This doesn’t only solve the problem for the younger population. Even people over 5o or 60 can opt for such surgeries, in case they do not suffer from cataracts and have a normal cornea.
There’s also one more option – intraocular lenses
As you may already know, not every person is eligible, so to say, for laser surgeries. For such people, the problem with vision can be solved by installing intraocular lenses. These are lenses that are installed in the front chamber of the eye, between the cornea and the iris. The patient does not have to worry about the lens, because it is in the eye, and complications related to it are extremely rare and solvable.
Such procedures are usually performed under local or partial anesthesia. The procedure is rather quick, lasts only minutes, and is completely painless. Recovery is short-term, so the patient returns to daily activities after only a few days.
What most wonder, however, is whether these lenses have to be replaced at some point, or are they to stay inside the eye, for good…
After removing the natural lens and installing an artificial intraocular lens, the effect is lifelong, the artificial lens does not need to be changed. This is the most practical part of the procedure because people who opt for such surgery are often tired of having to take off their lenses, clean them, change them with different ones, and so on. It’s not so uncommon that one even forgets to take them off, which can cause quite an unpleasant feeling in the eye. Therefore, getting an artificial one comes in very handy and practical.
Is there anything else one should keep in mind in the recovery process?
Right after the operation, the patient is prescribed antibiotics and anti-inflammatory eye drops, as well as artificial tears for the first week.
In the first week after the operation, it is important to avoid working in dust, smoke, or wind, and the eye should be protected from accidental pressure or impact. Avoiding sports activities is recommended for two to three weeks after the procedure, depending on the type of sport.
But all of the mentioned is typically practiced after any eye procedure.
Why do we need lenses at all?
Each eye has a natural eye lens that consists of transparent proteins and water and is located just behind the pupil of the eye. The natural lens of the eye focuses light on the retina, which further sends a signal to the brain.
As we age, proteins change and the lens of the eye partly becomes cloudy. This condition is called a cataract. Symptoms of this condition are blurred vision, sensitivity to light, and a reduced spectrum of visible colors. Cataracts can only be cured by surgery, i.e. by implanting an intraocular lens. So, it’s either our way of life that contributes to vision deterioration or our age as was explained, that will influence the necessity for these lenses, at one point in our lives.
As for side effects, many of you reading this article are probably wondering what they are, if any. In addition to numerous advantages, procedures like these also have some disadvantages, which are mostly solvable. The biggest issue that can happen is postoperative astigmatism (diopter cylinder), which is easily removed with a laser a couple of months after the procedure. In some cases, concentric circles around the light source (halo) and flare can also appear as side effects in the design of these lenses that go away with time, as everything adjust. Some people can struggle to get used to the lens. But this can be solved by removing them from the eye and replaced with a different one. That is why we strongly advise you to have a conversation with a doctor of your choice so you can have an explanation of all the advantages and disadvantages of this procedure and ensure satisfaction with the result.
The progress of science and the development of technology have increased the possibilities and expanded the indications for removing diopters and solving dependence on glasses or contact lenses, so today the quality of everyday life can be improved for most patients, in a matter of minutes.