What is a Permanent Intraocular Lens? Can they be replaced?

For common eye defects, there are different treatments that allow you to say goodbye to glasses and temporary lenses. Laser eye surgery aside, one of the preferred treatments here is permanent intraocular lenses. Although the lenses, which are implanted into the eye with a simple operation, can be preferred in many cases, there are also parts that patients have question marks about this issue. Let’s give answers to the most curious questions such as “what is permanent intraocular lens?”, “Can permanent intraocular lens be replaced?”.

What is Permanent Intraocular Lens?

Intraocular lenses (IOLs) are typically considered permanent implants. When an IOL is surgically implanted into the eye, it becomes a permanent part of the eye’s anatomy, taking on the role of the natural lens removed or replaced during cataract surgery or refractive lens exchange.

Whether monofocal, multifocal, toric or other specialized types, the decision to implant a particular type of IOL is based on the patient’s visual needs and preferences. While IOLs are designed to provide a long-term solution for vision correction, there are situations in which they can be replaced or modified. Let’s talk about these situations in more detail.

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Can Permanent Intraocular Lens be Replaced?

First Scenario: In some cases, individuals may experience problems with their initial IOL implant, such as dislocation or complications. In such cases, IOL exchange or replacement surgery may be considered.

Second Scenario – Posterior Capsule Opacification (PCO): Over time, thickening of the capsule behind the IOL can occur, known as posterior capsule opacification (PCO). PCO can cause visual symptoms similar to cataracts, such as blurred vision. PCO treatment involves a quick and non-invasive procedure called a YAG laser capsulotomy, where the cloudy posterior capsule is opened with a laser to restore clear vision without replacing the IOL, and the vision problem is corrected in this way.

Third scenario – Change in Prescription: In some cases, a person’s eye number may change significantly over the years and they may want an IOL exchange to address the new refractive error. It is important to remember that IOL exchange or replacement is a surgical procedure and needs to be carefully evaluated. The decision is usually based on an ophthalmologist or eye surgeon’s assessment, taking into account the patient’s overall eye health, vision needs and the feasibility of the procedure.

Apart from all these scenarios, if we want to make a general assessment, most people do not need to replace their IOLs and these lenses usually provide a stable and effective long-term solution for vision correction. But let’s not forget that the answer to the question “Can Permanent IOLs be replaced?” is yes. Routine eye examinations are essential to monitor the health of the eyes and the performance of the IOL over time. Any concerns or changes in vision should be discussed with an eye care professional who can provide guidance on the most appropriate course of action.

Assoc. Prof. Aylin Kılıç

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