For many people today, the old adage - Life Begins at forty - is being used in reference to their vision. A refractive surgical procedure, PRELEX, is bringing new hope to those who wish to be less dependent on eyeglasses or contact lenses for far and near vision.
PRELEX or Presbyopia Lens Exchange surgery is used to treat the condition known as presbyopia, which currently affects more than 90 million people in the United States alone.
So what is presbyopia; what causes this condition, and how is it treated?
If you are suffering blurred vision while reading or working on the computer; need to hold reading materials at arm's length in order to focus properly, or suffer from headaches or fatigue while writing, the chances are that you have developed presbyopia.
There are several schools of thought as to the causes of this condition, although the general consensus is that it is caused by an age-related process that differs from astigmatism, far-sightedness and near-sightedness, which are related to the shape of the eyeball and caused by genetic factors, trauma or disease. Presbyopia is generally believed to stem from a gradual loss of flexibility in your eye's natural lens. With less elasticity, the eye has a harder job focusing up close.
PRELEX is a refractive surgical procedure that uses the same techniques as modern cataract surgery to correct nearsighted and farsighted vision at the same time. The main difference between standard cataract surgery and PRELEX is that cataract surgery is primarily performed to remove a patient's cataract that is obstructing and clouding their vision. PRELEX, on the other hand, is carried out to minimize a person's dependence on contact lenses or glasses.
PRELEX is a procedure for those who wish to be less dependent on glasses or contact lenses for near and far vision. It is a procedure for people who are perhaps outside the corrective range of other refractive procedures, such as LASIK; or for those who are simply showing signs of clouding in their natural lens even though this is not yet interfering with their vision.
The first step is to arrange a consultation with your surgeon at the St. Peter Eye Hospital who will be pleased to assist you in providing the treatment best suited for your individual needs. It has to be remembered, however, that the patient's expectations are critical to a successful outcome.
You can expect the doctor to ask whether you do a lot of night driving: spend a lot of time on a computer, are an avid reader, participate in sport, and so on.
The doctor will also wish to know which ranges of vision are most important in your case. These questions and more will help him to determine which lens will work best for you.
So what does the surgery involve?
PRELEX corrects vision by replacing the eye's natural lens, which has the wrong focusing power, with an artificial lens implant that has the correct focusing power for your eye. Having this multifocal lens implant creates a new visual system inside your eye, one that can provide the focusing power to see near, intermediate and far images with minimal dependence on corrective lenses. Monofocal lenses, on the other hand, provide clear vision only at the point of focus.
PRELEX is performed on an outpatient basis and takes approximately 15 minutes per eye to complete. After your eye is completely numbed with topical or local anesthesia, your eye's natural lens will be gently vacuumed out through a tiny incision, about an eighth of an inch wide. The multifocal lens will then be folded and inserted through the same micro-incision. It will then be unfolded and placed into the capsular bag that originally surrounded the natural lens. This incision is self-sealing and usually requires no stitches. It remains tightly closed by the natural outward pressure within the eye. This type of incision heals fast and provides a much more comfortable recuperation.
If your eye has pre-existing astigmatism, your surgeon may elect to make micro-incisions in the cornea to reduce your astigmatism. You will be allowed to go home shortly after the surgery and to take it easy for the rest of the day. Everyone heals somewhat differently but many patients report significant improvement in their vision almost immediately after the procedure. Most patients will return to their everyday activities within a day or two.
As mentioned earlier, it is vital that the patient has realistic expectations. It is important to understand that with multifocal implants you are in effect getting a new visual system. Having spent many years learning how to perfect your natural visual system, it will take time for your brain to adjust to this new setup.
The aim of PRELEX surgery is to reduce or eliminate your dependence on glasses or contact lenses, but your expectations should be realistic. You will not have the X-ray vision of Superman, nor the eyesight of an eagle, believed by scientist's to be up to six times sharper than that of a human.
You are more than welcome to come in and discuss the procedure with our surgical team and to ask whatever questions you may have with regard to improving your outlook on life.
To schedule a consultation with your surgeon, please call
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