As technology has evolved, the optimal surgical vision correction method for individuals in their mid-40’s and older is Laser Lens Replacement (LLR).
For example, with an individual that is 49 years old (or older), if you need glasses to read up-close or see far away, you could have LASIK surgery to correct your vision. LASIK will enable you to see like a normal person your age. So, this 49-year-old individual would:
- See far away without glasses but require reading glasses to see the computer and closer
- Would experience normal age-related vision changes due to the normal development associated with lens changes and cataract formation with each year
- Ultimately, cataract surgery would be needed once this individual’s lens develops into a visually significant cataract (usually by age 75)
In contrast, this same 49-year-old (or older) individual above with Laser Lens Replacement would:
- See far away without glasses AND see the computer and closer with minimal and often no reliance on reading glasses
- Would experience very stable vision (more stable than a normal person with a natural lens between the ages of 49-100) as they age
- Never need cataract surgery as they age
Laser Lens Replacement technology continues to evolve with the continued improvement in lens implant designs. As of 2019, current lens implants used in LLR create vision similar to that of an individual age 40-42. So, LLR can enable individuals 45-100 years old to see younger than their age permanently.
In our practice, LASIK is the preferred surgery for vision correction younger than 40. LLR is the preferred surgery for vision correction for patients over the age of 45.
LLR involves a 10 to 15 minute procedure that is painless, uses eyedrop anesthesia and which produces improved vision within hours. Most patients will regain normal function in less than one day.
During the procedure we remove and replace the aging lens inside the eye with an advance lens implant that can correct the nearsightedness/farsightedness/astigmatism and presbyopia. Your aging lens is replaced with a new lens implant that provides outstanding vision and optical quality.
LASER LENS REPLACEMENT FAQ’s:
Who is the best candidate for Laser Lens Replacement?
Patients who rely on reading glasses to see up-close and/or bifocals to see far and close.
Are Lens implants safe?
In the USA, over 4 million lens implants are placed in patients undergoing cataract surgery or elective lens replacement surgery. In contrast, there are less than 1 million LASIK procedures performed annually in the USA. So, absolutely lens implants are safe!
What are the potential side-effects of lens implants?
There are 4 main possible side-effects of LLR:
- Very blurred vision permanently 1:1000
- Complications related to surgery that require additional surgery but are ultimately correctable 1:100
- The need for some glasses, some of the time for some activities. We cannot guarantee that glasses will “never” be needed with any type of eye surgery. Most patients see a huge improvement in vision and rely on glasses minimally after LLR
- Night time halos, starburst or artifacts around lights. Most patients will see a halo effect around lights at night that is well tolerated overall
- In summary, LLR is safe, proven and effective. But as with all medical and surgical procedures there are risks to consider
Can Lens implants be replaced as new lens implant designs emerge in the future?
Though it is possible to remove and replace a lens implant placed years ago, we do not recommend that you plan to remove and replace the implant that you receive initially. Consider that the lens implant that you receive will be stable and perform beautifully for the rest of your life. Removal of this implant in the future after it has had time to integrate with your eye can be very involved and complex. Therefore, plan on having this procedure only once!
How long has LLR been performed?
At Austin Eye, we have been performing elective lens replacement surgery to correct vision and presbyopia since 2000. Since 2012, we have used the LenSx Femtosecond laser to help make the procedure more precise. Using the femtosecond laser for lens replacement surgery over the past 7-8 years is the most frequently performed procedure at Austin Eye. We treat over 1000 LLR patients each year at Austin Eye. The technology is proven and safe.
In March 2017, Shannon Wong, MD had Laser Lens Replacement surgery to correct his vision. Watch his story: