Laser Eye Surgery is certainly not for everyone. In fact at least 25% of the people that inquire about Laser Eye Surgery are suitable for a variety of reasons. It is imperative to be screen by someone that is experienced in who is suitable as treating unsuitable patients can turn out to be disastrous.
If you’ve been disappointed to find out that you are not eligible for laser eye surgery, either due to your age, or that your prescription vision correction is too high to make laser surgery worthwhile, you don’t have to resign yourself to being stuck with glasses or contacts for the rest of your life. Actually, there is an alternative that you might find fitting for your vision needs.
This procedure, called a refractive lensectomy, is ideal for many patients who do not fit the criteria for laser eye surgery. Basically, a lensectomy does not reshape the cornea as it would with lasers — instead, the natural lens of the eye is removed (hence the name “lensectomy”), and replaced with a permanent, human-made polymer lens. This new lens allows the eye a bit more flexibility with focusing (refractive – especially at distances), and will reduce or eliminate your dependence on glasses or contact lenses.
The ideal patients for a lensectomy typically fall into the following categories:
• Age 45 and over
• Have been disqualified from laser procedures, due to thin corneas or other reasons
• Have signs of cataracts (early stages)
• High prescriptions, either nearsighted or farsighted
• Have a dependency on corrective lenses for both nearsightedness and farsightedness
• Have no signs of other eye ailments (such as glaucoma or potential retinal detachment).
If you have the need for bifocals or multifocals, and are over age 45, then you might be a good candidate for a lensectomy procedure. You may be able to eliminate your need for corrective lenses entirely, or ditch the bifocals and just need reading glasses.
While lensectomy greatly improves your focusing capability, it does not always correct it entirely, and, if you still have the ability to focus well (in other words, your eyesight is still flexible), you will lose your natural focus powers. Therefore, this procedure is best for those who are older than 45 years, and have lost that ability through the natural aging process.
Surgery & Recovery
The surgery is quite simple, and you would not be put under general anesthesia —you would only be given a sedative if needed, and a topical anesthetic would be used. Your natural lens is removed, and the manufactured lens is put in its place. No stitching is required (in the majority of cases), as the incision that is made seals itself through your eye’s natural pressure, and then heals itself.
There is little discomfort during the healing process, and many patients are able to see clearly in just a few hours after the operation. If you have astigmatism, it will be corrected during the procedure using limbal relaxing incisions (LRIs) —tiny incisions in the cornea —which will alleviate astigmatism symptoms. Lately lens implants have been designed that also correct astigmatism, which has nearly made the relaxing incision procedure obsolete.
During recovery, you may experience occasional blurriness as tear film and fluid in the cornea fluctuate. Additionally, light sensitivity is often reported for several weeks after the surgery.
If you are interested in this procedure, discuss it thoroughly with Dr Jim Kokkinakis. He can detail the risks and assess you for candidacy for this procedure. Call us on 9290 1899 for an appointment.