Lens Implant:

Phakic Intraocular Lens Implants

Editor's note: the following article discusses drugs and/or surgery for the treatment of eye disorders. Here at H&B we recommend natural approaches and urge you to look into alternatives before choosing surgery or taking powerful drugs with potentially dangerous side effects.

A phakic intraocular lens (PIOL) implant can be employed to correct either extreme farsightedness or extreme nearsightedness. Unlike cataract surgery, your natural lens is not removed -- instead, the implant is secured in front of the natural lens, essentially making the PIOL implant an internal contact lens.

Implantable contact lens technology has arisen out of the rapid advances in today's cataract surgery. Utilizing cutting edge equipment, ophthalmologists can insert flexible intraocular lenses (used to replace the natural lens after cataract surgery) through extremely small incisions. Some PIOL implants are flexible enough to allow folding as they are inserted through small incision openings.

Because there is an increased risk of more serious complications, PIOL implants are supposed to be reserved for only extreme cases of nearsightedness or farsightedness. Surgeons are implanting PIOLs in patients with myopia greater than 12.00 to 15.00 diopters and hyperopia greater than 4.00 to 6.00 diopters.

Though you are at much higher risk, PIOL implants can offer an advantage over LASIK in people who have thinner corneas, making the tissue removal aspect of LASIK less desirable. Of course, both procedures have their dangers, and you should fully do your homework and know all the risks involved.

Despite the published positive outcomes, complications linked to PIOL implants are a very real and credible concern. Specifically, in the earliest studies, a percentage of patients developed cataracts shortly after implantation.

There is also a risk of endophthalmitis (infection within the eye) because the surgical incision penetrates the eye. This could lead to a complete loss of vision. Endothelial cell loss with some lens designs is also a concern and is currently being studied further.

Ophthalmologists in the U.S. are currently implanting PIOLs as part of an FDA clinical trial. So please keep this in mind if your surgeon tells you that you may be a candidate for this "exciting" and "promising" new surgical procedure.

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