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Light Adjustable Intraocular Lenses for Cataracts

Intraocular Lenses (IOLs) are artificial lenses doctors implant in eyes to correct vision issues caused by cataracts. Light Adjustable Intraocular Lenses are a special type of IOL that can be calibrated for individual cases. Light treatments allow the lens to be customized in the doctor’s office after surgery.

What Are Light Adjustable Lenses?

A Light Adjustable Intraocular Lens is a special type of IOL that is usually placed on the eye following cataract surgery. As the name suggests, this type of IOL can be customized using UV light treatments.

What makes these lenses unique is that customization can be done after the surgical procedure.

With normal IOLs, there is a small degree of guesswork when selecting the right one. With Light Adjustable Lenses, you can rest assured of the precision as it can be calibrated to suit you and improve your vision.

How Do Light Adjustable Lenses Work?

Cataracts are a common vision condition that usually comes with age, though one that can be fixed through surgery. The surgical procedure used to treat cataracts involves removing the eye’s natural lens. An artificial lens is then placed to replace the one removed.

One of the most impressive types of IOL is the Light Adjustable Lens. 

During the surgical procedure to fix cataracts, the doctors remove your clouded natural lens and replace it with the Light Adjustable Lens. 

During your recovery time, you must wear protective glasses to ensure your eyes don’t come into direct contact with UV light. Ideally, carry your glasses with you at all times, especially if you are exposed to the sun. The only instances when you are allowed to take them off are when you are showering, applying eye drops, washing your face or sleeping.

After the recovery period, return to your doctor, who will begin the Light Adjustable Lens customization process. This happens through various light treatments where your vision will be monitored to ensure the best results.

intraocular lens

Benefits of Light Adjustable Lenses?

While fairly modern, Light Adjustable Lenses have grown in popularity. This may be attributed to the benefits you get when you have this customizable type of IOL. Some of the advantages of getting a Light Adjustable Lens include:

Are You a Suitable Light Adjustable Lens Candidate?

Not everyone qualifies as a candidate to receive a Light Adjustable Lens. To be eligible, the most notable qualification is to have developed cataracts that require surgery. In addition, the procedure is most successful when used on patients with astigmatism of at least 0.75 diopters.

Other factors can disqualify you from receiving the procedure. Among them:

  • You are unable to follow Light Delivery Device (LDD) treatments.
  • You take medication that could damage the retina.
  • You take medication that increases your UV light sensitivity.
  • You cannot wear UV protective glasses after the procedure.
  • You have a history of herpes, eye infections, or nystagmus.
  • Your pupils can’t dilate to the required measurement.

Risks of Light Adjustable Lens

This procedure is minimally invasive and very safe. There are little-to-no downsides to getting a Light Adjustable Lens, especially if you are a suitable candidate.

The only notable hindrance to getting the procedure is its cost. Since this is a fairly new procedure, it is not offered in most vision facilities and can be relatively expensive.

What to Expect about the Procedure

Before you can get the procedure, your doctor will examine you to ensure you’re a suitable candidate. After that, you’ll undergo the surgical procedure where your natural lens is removed, and the Light Adjustable Lens put in place.

After the procedure, you will have to wait for about two weeks as you allow the eye to heal. Once the recovery period elapses, you will start vision examinations. These tests help determine the power of the lens required.

Finally, the doctor will start the light treatments. These take about 90 seconds each, and you require about three sessions in one sitting. The light treatments may be repeated after about three days.

Your vision may be a little blurry at the start, but you will notice gradual improvement in your vision.

Potential Complications of Light Adjustable Lens

As formerly mentioned, this procedure is very safe, and there are little-to-no negative side effects or complications during or after the surgery. However, there are few cases of complications recorded over the years.

The most noteworthy complications have to do with UV light. If you are not careful and are exposed to UV rays while you’re not wearing the protective glasses, you may experience color vision anomaly and permanent erythroplasia.

In rare cases, there could be complications with a general vision where your sight deteriorates, and eventually, you might experience vision loss.

What Is the Procedure’s Success Rate?

Before undertaking any medical procedure, it’s important to know what the chances of success are. From the information shared above, Light Adjustable Lens procedures are common and come highly recommended by eye experts.

One study found more than 93 percent of patients who underwent the Light Adjustable Lens surgery experienced an improved vision. The study was conducted 7.2 years after the original procedure.

FAQs

What is the Light Adjustable Lens?

Light Adjustable Lens (LAL) is a modern type of intraocular lens (IOL) which is placed after cataract surgery to replace the natural lens. Unlike most types of intraocular lenses, the Light Adjustable Lens can be customized and adjusted after the surgical procedure.

Light Adjustable Lens uses technology that is designed to help you improve your sight without the need for prescription glasses. This procedure can restore your near vision without affecting far sight.

How much does the Light Adjustable Lens cost?

As wIth most medical procedures, the actual cost may differ from one person to another. Factors that could influence the final cost include your location, add-on services required and the facility.

While this procedure is rapidly growing, there aren’t many places that provide the service, possibly driving up the cost. You can get the procedure done for anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 per eye.

In addition, Light Adjustable Lens surgery is majorly not covered by insurance. However, you may be able to get your insurance to cover the cataract surgery. Discuss possible payment options with your doctor to better understand the final cost.

How does the Light Adjustable Lens work?

One of the features of this procedure is it can be adjusted after it has been placed in the eye. Through the help of UV rays, particles in the light path connect with other exposed particles to form polymers. The unaffected particles move to cover the exposed area, which then alters how light is perceived.

Since this procedure uses pinpoint accuracy, the specialist can get your vision back to what it was before cataract formation.

References

  1. Cataract Surgery. (May 2020). National Health Service.

  2. Long-term Follow-up and Clinical Evaluation of the Light-Adjustable Intraocular Lens Implanted After Cataract Removal: 7-Year Results. (January 2020). Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery.

  3. Adjustable IOL Could Help Some Ditch Their Glasses After Cataract Surgery. (February 2018). American Academy of Ophthalmology.

  4. Summary of Safety and Effectiveness Data (SSED). (November 2017). U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

  5. What is Nystagmus. (July 2017) Johns Hopkins Medicine.

  6. Light-Adjustable lens: Customizing Correction for Multifunctionality and Higher-Order Aberrations. (December 2006). Trans American Ophthalmological Society.

  7. Light Adjustable Lens: Development of In Vitro Nomograms. (December 2004). Trans American Ophthalmological Society.

Last Updated June 8, 2022

Note: This page should not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice from a doctor or specialist. Please review our about page for more information.