Multifocal lens implants
Pip, from Billericay, Essex had multifocal toric lens implants at Spire Hartswood Hospital, Brentwood in April 2012. Here is her story....
"I was eight years old when I started wearing glasses, initially because I was long-sighted with high astigmatism. Gradually, over the years, I started to need glasses for distance and reading, too; in my late 30s, I was told I needed to wear glasses for driving. Then came problems with my intermediate vision as I work with computers. At first, I tried to make do with my reading glasses, but after a while, that wasn’t enough.
I’d never tried contact lenses as these weren't an option when I was young, because of my astigmatism, and I didn’t want to go into varifocals as I’d always managed quite well without wearing distance glasses, except for driving.
Juggling my three pairs of glasses
By now, I had three pairs of glasses to juggle constantly and my eyesight had reached the stage when I had to wear glasses permanently. I was forever running up and down the stairs trying to find the right pair of glasses for whatever I was doing. Fortunately, I was in the right place; my boss is an eye surgeon! I work as secretary to Mr Jag Chawla, consultant ophthalmologist and oculoplastic surgeon at Spire Hartswood Hospital.
Because of my job I was already aware of the options open to me and I decided to have a chat with Mr Chawla about it. We had a long discussion about Toric multifocal lens implants which had been reporting very good results. Mr Chawla hadn’t previously used the toric multifocal lens implant although he’d been doing multifocals for many years; I was his first patient to have this particular implant.
I was lucky; I felt very confident in Mr Chawla performing my lens surgery as I’ve had such positive feedback from our patients over the six years I’ve worked for him. He explained that my right eye would be done first, followed by the left eye three weeks later.
In April 2012, I went in for my first multifocal lens implant at Spire Hartswood Hospital in Brentwood. I was admitted in the morning and drops were placed into my eyes to dilate the pupils. The procedure itself was, pleasantly, more or less pain-free and was performed under local anaesthetic with sedation. The consultant and theatre staff were very comforting and reassuring during the procedure, Afterwards, I was taken back to my room where I was offered refreshments and rested until Mr Chawla came to explain what to expect post-operatively.
Apart from a slight gritty feeling in my eye for 24-48 hours, I had practically no symptoms and simply had to use drops for four weeks.
On review two weeks later, I had visual acuity of 6/6 part for distance and N5 for near, which meant I didn’t require glasses. The second eye was done three weeks later and I’m now spectacle free!
It’s great not to have to hunt round for my glasses any more, dig them out of my handbag in shops to read the labels, put them on to read menus in restaurants, and be able to see properly when putting on my make-up. And of course, there’s the big bonus – texting!"
The consultant's view - Mr Jag Chawla, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon
“Innovative intraocular lens (IOL) technology enables us not only to restore vision but also to give most patients freedom from spectacles.
Traditional IOLs used during cataract surgery are monofocal and offer vision at only one distance (far, intermediate or near). This means that you must still wear glasses or contact lenses in order to read for example.
The new-style IOLs such as the toric multifocal lenses, which I implanted for Pip, offer benefits far beyond conventional IOLs. For example, they can correct vision at multiple distances and can correct astigmatism*. Additional options include aspheric lenses, which help to achieve the clearest possible vision in certain conditions such as dim lighting, and lenses which filter blue and ultraviolet light to protect the retina.
Since this new technology has arrived I feel more confident to offer patients freedom from spectacles, even if, like Pip, they have a high astigmatism."
* Astigmatism: a common condition in which the cornea is oval (shaped like a rugby ball) rather than round. This distortion causes light to bend as it enters the eye and results in blurred vision.