Question: Are their alternatives to lens implants for cataract surgery? My dad has cataracts just starting and he doesn't like the idea of having lens implants. Are there other procedures that can be done that do not involve implants?
Answer: Historically, vision correction after Cataract Surgery has been provided by using aphakic spectacles as well as contact lenses-however bot of these methods of vision correction after a cataract has been removed offer SIGNIFICANT OPTICAL AND FUNCTIONAL DISADVANTAGES to the use of Lens Implants after Cataract Surgery. Aphakic eyeglasses-even more advanced design lenses-create some level of distortion and restriction of peripheral vision such that they can often impair comfortable mobility. This is in addition to creating significantly magnified images that are disturbing to many patients.
Contact Lenses after Cataract Surgery overcome both the limits of peripheral vision loss and magnification however they do require a healthy cornea and a normal tear film. Somewhere between 30-50% of patients who have Cataract Surgery experience some degree of dry eye symptoms and find contact lens wear uncomfortable if not intolerable. Your dad would be much better off having a serious discussion with a top Cataract Surgeon regarding any misgivings about Lens Implants. Eye surgeons have been using Lens Implants for cataracts for more than 30 years and there are literally millions of successful patients using Lens Implants with excellent safety and efficacy. It is a real question as to whether the best Cataract Surgeons would actually even consider not using a Lens Implant as the optical alternatives discussed here are actually so limiting as to expose patients to a high likelihood of dissatisfaction, inconvenience and limitation in their daily lives. That said, it is possible that your dad could convince a Cataract Surgeon not to use a Lens Implant but it for whatever reason he changes his mind down the road it would require another eye surgery procedure to insert the implant, exposing him to additional risks.
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