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29th June 2017

The contact lens that lives inside the eye

Carina had been wearing glasses or contacts since she was a kid. Now, artificial lenses implanted in her eye give her the freedom to enjoy life – and her work (as an optician!)

Photo credits: Sehkraft Eye Center.

Like millions of people around the world, Carina suffered from hyperopia – the technical term for a common condition: long-sightedness.

From a young age, her parents noticed that she had difficulty seeing things that are far away so they took her to have an eye test. Not surprisingly, the optician prescribed corrective lenses – some of the most everyday medical devices in the world.

Carina would need either glasses or contact lenses for the rest of her days, or so it was thought. But in the years that followed, new technologies emerged that would ‘fix’ vision problems. Perhaps the best-known procedure are laser eye surgeries but there are other options too.

Choosing the right one for you can be daunting task, usually requiring the expert advice of an experienced doctor. But Carina had a distinct advantage: “I’m an optometrist so I already knew a lot about the various surgeries available,” she says. “I chose an Implantable Collamer Lens because it had all the benefits of corrective surgery without the risk of side effects.”

Dry eye’, this is not a problem with the implantable lens Carina chose. And, should a problem arrive at some point in the future, the lens is easily removed. “The fact that it is totally reversible is also very reassuring,” she says.

The lens was placed in her eyes through small cuts made by an ophthalmologist. While this may sound painful – and it looks a little gory – the procedure is completely painless.

Untold success story

As a patient and an optician, Carina says implantable lenses are ophthalmology’s best kept secret. She wants more people to know about this treatment option so that they can make an informed choice in consultation with their doctor.

“Most people know about laser surgery but, even though implantable lenses are not new, there is not enough awareness of their benefits,” she says.

Implantable contact lenses are not ideal for everyone. Patients should be aged between 21 and 45, and certain anatomical factors might mean some people are unsuitable. “Your own lens must be healthy and you need to be in the right age group but, for me it was perfect,” says Carina. “I have no regrets.”

While the surgery was simple, Carina says it has changed her life – giving her a new sense of freedom. “It’s the little things in life,” she says. “I can jump in the swimming pool without being afraid of losing my contact lens; I can go away for the night without having to pack a glasses case or contact lenses. I have the flexibility to enjoy life to the full.”


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