In a very few cases, laser eye surgery will not produce the best results. And we are only interested in the best results.
So for some patients with extremely high prescriptions, we might recommend intra-ocular lenses.
These artificial lenses are referred to by many names, including IOLs, phakic IOLs, implantable lenses, clear lens extraction or exchange (CLE), intra-corneal lens implants, Artisan® lenses, Prelex® lenses, RLR, refractive lens exchange and lens replacement surgery. Their enormous range makes them an option – and, rarely, the only option – for those with unusually high refractive prescriptions.
Implanting intraocular lenses / refractive lens exchange
In this form of treatment, an intra-ocular lens (IOL) is surgically implanted into the eye. The lens is permanent, although it can be surgically removed and needs no maintenance. These intraocular lenses (IOLs) usually remain in the eye for the patient’s entire life.
The IOL doesn’t replace the patient’s natural lens. Instead, to preserve the focusing ability needed for reading, the surgeon implants the new lens in front of the natural lens. In this way, it works much as a conventional contact lens would. (Indeed, intraocular lenses are sometimes called ‘implantable contact lenses’).
The surgeon makes a small incision and inserts the refractive lens through this opening, where it is positioned exactly in front of the pupil and fixed to the iris with two surgical clips. The surgeon then closes the incision.