Lifestyle Lenses for Cataracts

What is Cataracts?

A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s natural lens. It causes blurry vision and occurs due to ageing.  Intraocular lenses are small, clear artificial lenses that are implanted permanently inside the eye to restore focus after removal of the eye’s natural lens during cataract surgery.

What are Lifestyle Lenses?

Standard intraocular lenses are usually designed to provide clear distance vision after cataract surgery, but eyeglasses are needed for near and intermediate vision. Though many people are satisfied with a standard monofocal lens, others may favour a more advanced lens option to suit their lifestyle and correct vision problems such as presbyopia or astigmatism. These advanced premium lenses are called lifestyle lenses and are designed to provide a more functional range of vision and decrease the need for glasses following cataract surgery.

What are the Indications of Lifestyle Lenses?

Besides treating cataracts, lifestyle lenses can also correct:

  • Farsightedness or hyperopia
  • Nearsightedness or myopia
  • Astigmatism

Types of Lifestyle Lenses

Some of the common lifestyle lenses employed for the treatment of cataracts include:

  • Multifocal intraocular lens:  This lens type is designed to provide clear vision at multiple focal points so that you can visualize both near and far objects clearly without the need for glasses.
  • Accommodating intraocular lens:  This lens uses supports with flexible legs that allow movement of the lens to adjust its focus thus restoring vision at close, mid-range and far distances.
  • Toric IOLs:  These are premium intraocular lenses that correct astigmatism. Astigmatism is a visual defect caused due to an uneven curvature of the cornea. Toric intraocular lenses have different magnifying powers in various meridians of the lens to make up for the visual defects caused by the uneven curvature of the cornea.

Using different types of premium IOLs in each eye is sometimes done to accomplish the best visual outcome. For instance, if you have more astigmatism in one eye than the other, your surgeon may recommend implanting a Toric IOL in that eye, and possibly an accommodating IOL in the other eye for the best results.

Preoperative Assessment for Cataract Surgery

Your ophthalmologist will carry out a thorough preoperative evaluation prior to your cataract surgery and IOL placement, including:

  • A review of your medical history
  • A thorough eye exam to evaluate the overall health of your eyes and to study the shape and features of the eye in general
  • A refraction test to determine the degree of farsightedness, nearsightedness, and/or astigmatism
  • A measurement of the curvature of the pupils and cornea as well as the thickness of the cornea
  • A discussion about any medications or supplements you may be taking as some can complicate your cataract surgery.

A signed informed consent form is obtained after discussing the pros and cons of the procedure in detail with you.

Surgical procedure for Cataract and Implantation of Lifestyle Lenses

The surgical procedure for cataract removal and IOL implantation is typically performed in an outpatient setting and does not require an overnight stay in a hospital or other care facility. The procedure involves the following steps:

  • Your surgeon will first numb your eye with anaesthetic eye drops.
  • An eyelid holder will be placed on your eye to prevent the eye from blinking.
  • A small incision is made through your cornea to access the lens
  • A high-frequency ultrasound device is used to break up the cloudy natural lens into tiny pieces for easier removal.
  • Suction is used to gently remove the broken cloudy lens pieces from the eye.
  • A clear intraocular lens is carefully inserted behind the iris and pupil in the same place your natural lens had occupied.
  • In the case of Toric lens implants, markings on the periphery of the lens as well as on the cornea allow your surgeon to properly orient the intraocular lens inside the eye for optimal correction of astigmatism.
  • The incision is then closed, and a protective shield is placed over the eye to complete the operation.

Postoperative care of Cataract and Implantation of Lifestyle Lenses

Postoperative care and instructions include:

  • Arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure.
  • Do not drive until cleared by your ophthalmologist.
  • You will be prescribed medicated eye drops to be used for a few weeks.
  • You should wear a protective eye shield for at least a week at night or while napping.
  • You should wear sunglasses to protect your eyes while outdoors.
  • Avoid strenuous activities and heavy lifting for a week so that there is no stress on the eye as it heals.
  • Keep away from dusty environments and avoid splashing water into your eyes for a week to reduce the risk of irritation and infection.
  • Avoid hot tubs or swimming and close your eyes while bathing or showering for a week.
  • A follow-up appointment will be scheduled to monitor your progress.

Risks and Complications of Lifestyle Lenses

Some of the potential risks and complications of  cataract removal and implantation of lifestyle lenses include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Retinal detachment
  • Displacement of the intraocular lens implant
  • The remote chance of vision loss

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