Here at the San Jose Eye Institute, we are pleased to offer our patients the Light Adjustable Lens. This intraocular lens is used to replace the cataract during cataract surgery. It is unique in that the power of the lens can be adjusted weeks after it is implanted, without the need for further surgery.
With a traditional lens, computer algorithms are used to predict the lens power that best matches the patient’s eye. Because of variabilities in healing from patient to patient, this prediction is not an exact science.
Fortunately, patients are often targeted to see far away after cataract surgery. Vision for far distances tends to be more flexible, so getting the exact target is not as critical. With a small glasses prescription, vision will be clearer. But the incremental benefit may not be enough to justify wearing glasses at all times.
By changing the lens power after surgery, the Light Adjustable Lens can be truly customized to match the patient. Any amount of small residual prescription that a patient needs can be treated to make the uncorrected vision even sharper.
Furthermore, the Light Adjustable Lens allows patients to see a range of vision in focus. With this lens, patients can typically see clearly from distance to intermediate ranges (i.e. computer screens, cooking) without glasses. However, this range can be adjusted closer so patients can see intermediate to near ranges (i.e. cell phones, reading) instead.
If the Light Adjustable Lens is used in both eyes, then one eye can be targeted for distance to intermediate and the other for intermediate to near. Patients can go home and “test-drive” their new vision and see how well they function. If the reading vision needs to be stronger, or the discrepancy between the two eyes is too much, the lenses can be adjusted accordingly.
The power of the Light Adjustable Lens is adjusted after surgery using a beam of ultraviolet light in the doctor’s office. Using an instrument called a Light Delivery Device, each adjustment takes about 90 seconds and is painless. Up to three adjustments can be performed, although one is usually sufficient.
After the desired results are achieved, two more treatments are needed to make the changes permanent. Until then, patients will need to wear special glasses to protect the lens from accidental exposure to ultraviolet light.
When you come in for your cataract consultation here at the San Jose Eye Institute, we can discuss whether the Light Adjustable Lens is the right lens for you.