Too old for LASIK and too young for cataracts
What are your options?
You are having trouble reading without glasses and monovision doesn’t work for you, but you don’t quite have enough change in your lens to qualify for cataract surgery. How can you be free of glasses? Can you have Cataract surgery if you don’t have a cataract yet? Yes, this is called a refractive lens exchange.
The natural lens of the eye is removed, and an intraocular lens (IOL) is implanted. The procedure is done exactly the same way as cataract surgery.
There are options to improve the range of vision at different distances with some of the lenses available for implantation. Astigmatism can be corrected with toric IOLs, and those that correct both ranges of vision and astigmatism are becoming available as well.
Not everyone is a candidate for these lenses, so you must make the decision along with your surgeon.
What are the risks of a Refractive Lens Exchange?
The same risks for traditional cataract surgery apply to refractive lens exchange. No lens is as perfect as your natural lens. Your vision will never be as good as when you were young and had a flexible lens that could focus at all different distances.
There will always be pros and cons to every type of implant. Some can decrease the quality of vision, some can cause glare/haloes, some will not give you the best reading vision, and this is where your goals for post-op vision can help in your decision.
Along with your surgeon, you can choose a lens that will give you the best chance for good vision. Your doctor will also make sure you don’t have any eye conditions that may keep you from getting one of these lenses.
How do I get started?
Having a consultation with your doctor will give you insight into the health of your eyes, and whether or not you are a candidate for this procedure. Filling out a questionnaire about your lifestyle and your goals for your vision after surgery can help get you started in your decision for lens implants.
A discussion with your doctor will help you decide which is the best option for your lens implant. The procedure itself usually takes just a few minutes and can be done under local anesthesia at an outpatient surgery facility.