Light Adjustable Lenses in Knoxville, Tennessee
We’re always looking for the latest developments in eye care at Baptist Eye Surgeons. That’s why we’re excited to announce that we are now offering Light Adjustable Lenses in Knoxville, Tennessee. They are the next generation of intraocular lenses allowing you to customize your vision after cataract surgery.
To help you understand the benefits of these advanced artificial lenses, we will look at:
- What is a Light Adjustable Lens?
- How do Light Adjustable Lenses work?
- What to expect during treatment
- When do I need them?
- What patients are saying
- Light Adjustable Lens FAQ
- Light Adjustable Lenses in Knoxville, Tennessee
What is a Light Adjustable Lens?
Developed by RXSight, the Light Adjustable Lens (LAL) is an advanced form of intraocular lens (IOL) used to replace lenses that have become clouded and blurry as you age. Different types of these artificial lenses are available including standard and premium varieties. However, the Light Adjustable Lens provides a premium IOL experience never seen before.
To understand why they are so unique, it helps to know the two main types of intraocular lenses:
- Fixed lenses
- Adjustable lenses
Both types function like corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses with each having its own prescription. What makes them different is when the prescription of the artificial lens is determined.
Fixed Intraocular Lenses
The prescription for fixed lenses is determined before your surgical procedure. Implants come in different lens powers and types. The lens power is based on the individual patient’s needs while the type is chosen by the patient. These lenses come in three main types: standard lenses, toric lenses, and multifocal lenses.
As our own Dr. Darin Smith explains in his video:
“There are three different types of intraocular lenses. The first one is considered a standard lens, which is usually covered by insurance. It helps with distance or up-close vision but not both. It also doesn’t help with astigmatism, which has to do with the curvature of the cornea. The second type is known as a toric lens which is used for correcting astigmatism so people can avoid glasses for either distance or up-close vision, but not both. The third type is multifocal lenses, which can fix everything — distance, up-close, and treating astigmatism. The idea is that there are glasses for everything.”
Each type of fixed intraocular lens has its own benefits. However, it’s important to note that their lens power can’t be easily changed once implanted. Any changes to the prescription require more surgery later to improve your vision.
Click here to learn more about the basics of intraocular lenses with Dr. Darin Smith!
Adjustable Intraocular Lenses
Adjustable lens implantation works just like fixed lenses. The important difference is that the prescription of adjustable lenses can be updated after your procedure without the need for more surgery. This allows you to “test drive” your new artificial lens prescription once you have healed from the initial procedure.
Fixed lenses don’t come close to the precision offered by the Light Adjustable Lens from RxSight. We have been able to customize fixed lenses for patients but never at the level offered by adjustable lenses. They are a breakthrough in intraocular lens technology giving you up to five opportunities to adjust the lens power and dial in your ideal prescription.
How Do Light Adjustable Lenses Work?
The Light Adjustable Lens allows your eye doctor to change the power of an artificial lens with in-office light treatments. Following implantation of the lens and healing of the eye, your surgeon at Baptist Eye performs these treatments to get a customized prescription. This provides you with the best possible results for your individual lifestyle and needs.
These next-generation lenses work thanks to the ability to alter their chemical makeup using photochemistry. RxSight’s lenses include silicone macromers, a proprietary ingredient. These photoreactive (reactive to light) additives have been distributed throughout the lens. This unique ingredient allows your eye doctor to dial in the power of the lens to your unique specifications.
Your eye doctor manipulates the lens by exposing it to ultraviolet light using a light delivery device (LDD). When exposed to light, the macromers in that specific area of the lens attach to the ends of each other to create polymers. Any macromers not affected by exposure to light then diffuse (spread out) to unexposed areas of the lens. The end result is a predictable change in the strength and shape of your new lens, providing much clearer vision than you had before.
Thanks to these adjustable lenses, our Knoxville ophthalmologists are able to accomplish cylindrical and spherical changes in the lens. These adjustments are possible for as long as the lens has macromers that haven’t been turned into polymers using ultraviolet light. This gives us three to five appointments to adjust the new lens for your ideal prescription.
Are Adjustable Lenses Covered by Insurance?
Insurance or medicare will cover a new standard lens in most cases. However, premium artificial lenses such as toric, multifocal, and adjustable lenses are not. When opting for premium intraocular lenses, it’s important to know that you will have to pay the difference out of pocket.
What to Expect During Treatment
Replacing your clouded natural lens with a clear adjustable one works just like any other lens replacement. Patients are often awake during the procedure with your Knoxville eye surgeon applying a local anesthetic. This numbs the eye so you don’t feel a thing. The old lens is then gently removed and replaced with the new, adjustable artificial lens.
Lens replacement surgery is a complex procedure. Fortunately, it is also a common one that we can perform on an outpatient basis. This ensures that our team of eye surgeons are able to safely perform your procedure so that you can return to daily life as quickly as possible and finish the healing process.
The Big Difference
There isn’t much difference between light adjustable lenses and other types of artificial lenses up to this point. The real difference comes after your eye heals from surgery. Then you and your surgeon can begin customizing the lenses to your individual needs.
This will consist of three to five sessions of exposing the lens to ultraviolet light. These sessions are painless, non-invasive, and only last for about 90 seconds. It’s during these sessions that your eye doctor will manipulate the shape and strength of your lens so that it suits you best. Light treatments are usually spread out over the span of one to two weeks.
The total number of treatments you receive will depend on:
- Your desired level of customization
- The amount of light used during treatment
- Your vision goals
You will be required to wear special UV-blocking glasses until your light sessions have been completed. Wearing these protective glasses during all waking hours protects your new lenses from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. This ensures that you can continue getting light treatments and achieve the perfect lens power for your needs and lifestyle.
You will no longer need to wear the UV-blocking sunglasses 24 hours after your last light treatment. Once the last 24 hours are completed, you will be able to see confidently and clearly thanks to your new Light Adjustable Lens from RxSight.
When Do I Need Them?
Light Adjustable Lenses are used to replace natural lenses affected by cataracts, a common age-related eye condition. A healthy lens allows light to pass freely into your eye and be focused on the retina, creating the images we see similar to a film camera. As you age, the proteins in the lens begin to clump together and obscure your vision resulting in cataracts.
This causes your lens to become:
- Less flexible
Cataracts can have a major impact on your vision if not diagnosed and treated early on. Fortunately, the breaking down of proteins takes years before it affects your eyesight. You can ensure that you get a prompt diagnosis and treatment by being proactive about your eye health with regular comprehensive eye exams.
It’s easy to shrug off cataract symptoms in the early stages. They can seem like minor annoyances and become something that you grow used to over time. Unfortunately, cataract symptoms don’t go away. In fact, they will only become worse over time as they affect larger parts of the eye’s lens.
Common cataract symptoms to look out for include:
- Clouded or blurred vision
- Faded colors or a yellow tint to your vision
- Seeing halos around lights
- Sensitivity to light
- Frequent changes to your lens prescription
Having one or two of these symptoms may not seem like a big deal at first, but it won’t stay that way forever. Eventually they will worsen to a point where they can no longer be ignored.
Cataracts are usually the result of aging, but they can have other causes. They start to form around the age of 40 but often go unnoticed until the age of 60. By getting regular comprehensive eye exams, your eye doctor can monitor their growth and provide treatment. In some cases, surgery may eventually become necessary.
Genetics play an important role in cataract patients, as well. Although most people eventually develop cataracts, some people have a higher risk due to their family medical history. Informing your eye doctor that you have a family history of cataracts lets them know to pay special attention to their signs and symptoms.
Traumatic cataracts are the result of blunt or penetrating trauma to the eye. This type of cataract can develop and affect your vision differently than others. This makes regular visits to your eye doctor important so they can monitor their development and provide treatment.
Lens replacement surgery is the only effective treatment for cataracts but it is usually the last resort. This is because it takes so long for them to have a major impact on your life. Instead, most eye doctors prefer to treat cataracts with other methods until surgery is the only option left.
Common treatments for cataracts in their early stages include:
- Updated your prescription for glasses or contacts
- Wearing anti-glare glasses and sunglasses
- Using magnifying glasses to read
- Installing brighter lighting in your home and workspace
These can help you put off surgery for a long time. What’s important to keep in mind is that there may come a day when they no longer do the trick. When that happens, your eye doctor will be sure to discuss your options with you.
This involves removing the affected lens and replacing it with an artificial one. Among your options will be Light Adjustable Lenses which can fix your cataracts and even refractive errors such as astigmatism.
What Patients Are Saying
Diane is an optometrist as well as a Light Adjustable Lens patient. While an expert in the field of eye health, she had not initially heard about this next generation of intraocular lens. For her, the adjustability of the lenses was very appealing after spending most of her life in glasses.
“After the surgery was completed, there was still some wiggle room there. If my prescription wasn’t completely corrected—if more or less astigmatism, if I wanted to keep my near vision—that was all fixable after. I also got to decide and got to play a part. Even though they are the wonderful expert surgeons, I got to put in my two cents and say if I thought it would be better a certain way.”
Diane loves that she was able to customize her new lenses to her individual needs. “It’s almost like getting a custom suit that you’re making exactly to your parameters. It is very individualized.”
She is thrilled that she now has 20/20 distance vision thanks to her new lenses. She can read fine print and see her computer screen without the need for any corrective lenses. “It’s life-changing,” she says.
“It sounds like a cliche, but for someone who has been dependent on prescription lenses since second grade, it’s been an incredible journey with amazing results. I have better vision now than I did with my glasses or contact lenses.”
Light Adjustable Lens FAQ
It’s perfectly normal to have questions about a surgical procedure that you’re considering. To help you know what to expect, we’ve collected and answered some of the most frequently asked questions about adjustable lenses along with answers.
What Should I Expect after Cataract Surgery?
Follow all instructions provided by your eye doctor and their staff. This includes wearing the UV-blocking glasses that will be provided. It’s common for your vision to not be perfect after cataract surgery.
While the lenses provided were chosen to give you the best possible vision, they were only an estimate. You will spend the next few weeks working to optimize your vision with your eye doctor, so pay attention and be prepared to discuss it with them.
I Have a Special Event to Attend in between Light Treatments. Do I Really Have to Wear the UV-Blocking Glasses?
You must wear the UV-blocking glasses during all waking hours to prevent any uncontrolled changes to the photosensitive lenses. It’s very important to think about the weeks that you will need to wear them as well as any commitments you may have during that time. If possible, try to schedule your procedure and light treatments around any commitments you may have.
Can I Wear My Regular UV-Blocking Sunglasses?
You can only wear the sunglasses provided to you after your surgery. The lenses have a special coating that no other glasses have. This ensures that the photosensitive lenses are protected so they can be customized as much as possible.
What Happens if I Lose or Break My UV-Blocking Glasses?
Contact our office immediately if your glasses or sunglasses are lost or broken. In the meantime, wear whichever are still usable to protect your adjustable lenses. If both have become lost or damaged, wear the darkest sunglasses that you own until we can provide you with a new pair of each.
Light Adjustable Lenses in Knoxville, Tennessee
Baptist Eye Surgeons has been providing the highest quality of ophthalmological care to Knoxville and the surrounding areas for over 40 years. From vision exams to complex eye surgeries, we take pride in protecting and restoring vision for our patients.
It’s this commitment to excellence that has led us to offer Light Adjustable Lenses from RxSight. These powerful lenses offer a level of customization that has never been possible. Thanks to their photosensitivity, we can work with you to achieve your ideal vision and help you see more clearly than ever before. Are you interested in Light Adjustable Lenses for cataracts? Contact us today to schedule your appointment!
Light Adjustable Lenses are an advanced artificial lens used to replace those that have become clouded and blurry as you age. They allow a new level of customization thanks to their photoreceptive properties being exposed to UV light. Treatment works just like any other replacement, but it’s followed by light treatments to dial in your prescription. They are designed to be used during cataract surgery and even eyecare professionals have undergone treatment.
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