6 little-known eye lens replacement problems you should know about

Lens replacement surgery is an advanced version of traditional cataract surgery, and it’s one of the safest and most regularly performed operations around the world – with over 3 Million people in Europe, going on to enjoy the life-changing benefits of having their vision transformed with intraocular lens (IOL) replacement every year.

Refractive lens exchange or lens replacement surgery is popular amongst the over 40 age group – particularly those suffering from (or at high risk of) cataracts – who want to permanently restore their vision, and for whom laser eye surgery is not a suitable option. It can also be a hugely beneficial operation for younger patients with extremely poor vision due to genetic eye diseases or eye trauma/injury.

If you’ve worn glasses or lenses for a long time – with a strong prescription – it may seem too good to be true that you’ll be able to reduce or completely remove your dependence on them after lens replacement surgery, but that’s exactly what this sophisticated eye operation will enable you to do.

“My life changed for the better after lens replacement (Clarivu) - at Optegra in Manchester. Prior to surgery, I was so short-sighted I needed ‘bottle-bottom’ glasses and couldn’t see my hand in front of my face without specs or contacts. The results of the surgery were magical for me, colours were brighter, vision was 20/20 and I cried when I took my eye bandage off as the results were instant. My Mum was with me and she cried too as she knew how long my vision had been adversely affected. Since the surgery it has spurred me on to lose weight, keep fit and look after myself. I can swim, cycle and run without thinking about which pair of glasses to wear. The investment for me in the surgery is priceless. I received excellent service and aftercare, too.”  Sharon Benson

Due to advancements in eye surgery technology and the non-invasive procedure that is used for lens replacement surgery (we use the latest femtosecond laser technology); refractive lens exchange has an extremely high success rate, and the whole process is completed in between 15 and 30 minutes, so complications are rare.  But it is a medical procedure, nevertheless, and all operations – however minor are not without risk.

With this in mind (and as we’re proud to be the UK’s most trusted eye specialist), we’ve written this article to make sure all of our customers are fully informed about potential lens replacement problems – well in advance of their surgery, so you can first make an informed decision on whether refractive lens exchange it is the right eye treatment for you.

Eye lens replacement problems: 6 little-known facts
As we mentioned earlier in the article, lens replacement surgery is one of the safest medical procedures you can have – especially when you consider the multitude of benefits. And there are millions of these operations performed throughout the world every year. But occasionally some of the following problems can be encountered, although most are very easily resolved with additional treatment:

1. Night vision problems and/ or glare

Directly after surgery, one of the side effects of lens replacement surgery can be glare from bright lights or what some patients refer to as ‘halos’ – when looking towards bright lights, such as bedside lamps or car headlights. This problem should subside considerably during the first three months. But in rare cases it may continue. But your brain is very good at adapting to changes, in time, and most people don’t experience any long-term issues.

2. Complementary treatment may be required
In the majority of cases your vision will be fully restored - or at least improved to the standard expected when your eyes were assessed before surgery. But some patients may experience problems with astigmatism or mild long or short-sightedness after surgery. It may mean that you’ll occasionally need to use reading glasses or wear glasses when driving – or a laser ‘top-up’ procedure can be performed to perfect your vision even further.

3. Retinal detachment

Retinal detachment can be a serious complication of lens replacement surgery, but surgery to repair the detachment has a greater than 90% success rate. And the risk of you experiencing retinal detachment as a result of your surgery is statistically very low. In rare cases, however, vision after detachment may be permanently affected.

4. Eye irritation/ Infection
It’s quite normal for you to experience some minor redness and slight irritation in your eyes immediately after lens replacement surgery. But this will die down very quickly in a day or so. Rarely, some patients experience a continuation of these symptoms and the possibility of infection in the eye. However, you can reduce your risk by using the eye drops you will be given after surgery and by taking care to follow all of the aftercare instructions given to you by your surgeon. With prompt treatment, all eye irritations and infections can be treated successfully with no long term problems.

5. Posterior Capsule Opacification
This is a rare complication of lens replacement surgery, experienced by a very small number of patients. But it’s something you should be aware of; sometimes, in the years following your surgery, the lens capsule that houses your artificial lens can start to become cloudy. We’re able to treat this with TAG laser, but you can experience ‘floaters’ after treatment. These particles, which appear in your line of vision when looking straight ahead or at bright lights, will dissipate over time and, again, you are unlikely to experience any long term problems. 

6.Cystoid Macula Oedema

Another rare problem experienced by a small minority of lens replacement patients; Cystoid Macula Oedema is a swelling in the macula in the retina of your eye – the part of your eye that reflects light. It usually only involves a minor swelling that will resolve quickly on its own, but in some cases it may require treatment with medicated eye drops. So it’s important to report any changes in your vision to your consultant, so they can decide whether or not you require eye drops.

Free, no-obligation lens replacement consultation

Aside from reading this blog post, the best way to find out whether lens replacement surgery is the best option for you – and to intelligently weigh up the pros and cons - is by attending one of our nationwide eye hospitals for a detailed, one to one consultation with one of our world-class eye surgeons.

All consultations are free and there is no obligation to book further treatment.

And you’ll receive a full eye assessment along with an individual recommendation, from your consultant, on the best course of treatment for your condition. You will also have the opportunity to discuss any concerns you may have about the procedure – directly with the surgeon who will perform your lens replacement.

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