Lens replacement is most commonly associated with cataract surgery but may also be used in a number of other procedures to help recover sight. While new laser based techniques are being rolled out, in many instances, a combination of scalpel and laser technique is used to break up the lens before removing it and subsequently replacing it with an artificial lens. The aim of lens replacement is typically to recover lost sight but, in some cases, it may only be possible to prevent further degradation.
A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens in the eye. This can lead to serious visual impairment and while there are many known causes of cataracts, the most common is aging. Once the lens starts to cloud it will get gradually worse and this can lead to problems reading and performing other tasks. Left untreated, it may lead to more serious loss of sight and it should be treated as soon as possible to negate the potential loss of sight that can arise.
Treating a cataract requires the replacement of the intraocular lens. Initially, a fine metal blade is used to create a tiny cut in the cornea of the eye. Through this hole, the lens of the eye is broken up using an ultrasonic probe. The replacement lens is then folded and this is inserted through the incision where it naturally unfolds to leave a fully functioning lens and to hopefully give the patient the full use of their eyes once again.
Because a lens replacement operation replaces the damaged lens with what amounts to a…