INTRAOCULAR LENSES PROCEDURES IN IRAN: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
Intraocular lenses are extremely effective for patients who are not suitable candidates for other refractive eye procedures such as LASIK or PRK and are suffering from astigmatism, myopia(nearsightedness), hyperopia(farsightedness) or presbyopia (reading vision loss). There are two types of eye surgeries using intraocular lenses (IOL):
- Refractive lens exchange (RLE)
- Phakic intraocular lens implantation (PIOL)
The actual procedure in both techniques will usually take no longer than 20 to 30 minutes and the results are permanent. Some studies even suggest that the procedure offers longer-lasting results compared to LASIK surgery. The refractive lens exchange surgery also has the added-benefit of eliminating the chances of having cataract in the future.
While it is proven that intraocular lens procedure is an effective alternative to LASIK, many can’t afford it in their own country; especially, considering the fact that almost no insurances cover the expenses of this elective procedure. That is why a large number of patients travel overseas to countries like Iran for professional services and top-notch healthcare along with affordable prices.
Why choose Iran for intraocular lenses procedure?
Proficient specialists and high-quality healthcare: Iranian specialists are renowned in the medical communities around the world. It mostly stems from the fact that Iranian doctors are widely experienced and considerably devoted to each and every procedure they carry out. The country also has a set of very rigid qualification measures that makes it challenging for health centers to qualify. Consequently, the qualified Iranian medical centers strive to offer the best services and the most satisfactory results.
“Iranian doctors are widely experienced and considerably devoted to each and every procedure they carry out.”
Affordability of intraocular surgery (IOL) in Iran: Due to the complexity of developing the plastic lenses and difficulty of the procedure, it can be quite expensive to undergo intraocular procedure in most countries. In Iran, however, the cost of the procedure is between $800 to $1500. This is, in large part, due to the fact that Iran’s currency is relatively low against foreign currencies such as US Dollar.
Types of intraocular lenses procedures
Refractive lens exchange (RLE)
Refractive lens exchange surgery, also known as clear lens replacement, is an eye procedure that involves removing the natural lens and replacing it with intraocular lenses. The procedure is similar to that of cataract surgery with the difference being that during the cataract surgery, the intraocular lens replaces a cloudy lens while RLE replaces a clear lens.
Refractive lens replacement surgery can treat a variety of concerns related to the eye, including myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, presbyopia, and cataracts. In most cases, however, surgeons recommend RLE for patients who have presbyopia and moderate to severe hyperopia.
During the surgery, the ophthalmologist uses laser to remove the natural eye lens. Then, he or she will replace the type of intraocular lens that meets your needs. The procedure might take about 20 to 30 minutes for each eye.
Although slightly more invasive than procedures like LASIK or lens implantation, RLE is actually quite safe. Yet, ophthalmologists recommend lens replacement surgery only when the patient is not a candidate for other refractive procedures. Usually, patients who are more than 45 years old are eligible candidates for RLE surgery.
Common types of intraocular lenses used during RLE surgery:
- Monofocal IOL
- Multifocal IOL
- Accommodating IOL
Phakic intraocular lens implantation (PIOL)
A safe, effective, and popular alternative to LASIK surgery is phakic intraocular lens implantation which is another eye procedure that uses intraocular lenses. It is ideal for patients who cannot undergo LASIK surgery due to underlying conditions.
Phakic IOL can effectively correct refractive errors such as myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism. Unlike RLE, however, the procedure cannot treat presbyopia (reading vision impairment) or cataracts. Patient can have a clear vision almost immediately after the surgery. Another interesting point about PIOL is that it’s a reversible procedure. Meaning, the intraocular lens can be surgically removed in the future if needed.
The procedure is non-invasive and outpatient. It involves implanting the intraocular lens either between the cornea and the iris or just behind the iris. The implantation is performed in a very quick and pain-free procedure, without removing the natural lens.
Common types of intraocular lenses used during phakic IOL surgery:
Am I a good candidate for intraocular lenses?
Usually, intraocular lenses are recommended to patients who are not suitable candidates for LASIK or PRK procedures. You are a good candidate for intraocular lenses if:
- You cannot undergo LASIK surgery due to age or health-related issues.
- You have high hyperopia or myopia
- You wish to treat presbyopia.
- You have cataracts.
- Your natural eye lens is unable to focus properly.
When in doubt, seek professional opinion. If you are not sure which refractive eye surgery is the best choice for you, you can benefit from an in-depth consultation with our specialists.
Intraocular lenses corrective uses
Intraocular lenses for myopia (nearsightedness)
Nearsightedness is a common refractive eye problem that impairs your ability to see distant objects while the nearby objects can remain clear. Intraocular lenses can correct nearsightedness in two ways:
- Refractive lens exchange (RLE): Replacing the natural clear lens with the intraocular lens.
- Phakic intraocular lens implantation (PIOL): Implanting the intraocular lens while leaving the natural lens untouched.
Depending upon your age, general health or severity of your refractive error, the surgeon might opt for either one of these procedures. Usually, Phakic IOL is the more commonly recommended procedure to treat nearsightedness as it has lower risk of retinal detachment.
Intraocular lenses for hyperopia (farsightedness)
Hyperopia is the opposite of myopia. That is, the distant objects will seem clearer than nearby objects when you have farsightedness. As with nearsightedness, farsightedness can be treated with LASIK surgery. But, patients with severe refractive error, high hyperopia or those with abnormal cornea are not considered suitable for the conventional LASIK surgery. Fortunately, intraocular lenses can be just as effective. Both lens replacement surgery and Phakic IOL can treat farsightedness. However, RLE (surgery that involves removing the natural lenses) is the FDA-approved and usually preferred method to correct farsightedness using intraocular lenses.
Intraocular lenses for astigmatism
People with astigmatism have distorted vision. The condition usually accompanies myopia or hyperopia. Using intraocular lenses with RLE surgery can successfully address astigmatism, offering a clearer vision to the patient.
Intraocular lenses for presbyopia
Presbyopia is a condition that affect the reading vision and appears among patients who are over 40 years old. The condition results in the inability to focus on the nearby objects. Most people use eyeglasses to compensate for the inability. Others, however, might prefer corrective refractive surgeries.
As of now, the only FDA-approved way to treat presbyopia is lens replacement surgery. That being said, the type of intraocular that is used plays a vital part too. Not all lenses can bring back the eyes’ ability to focus. Some lenses like the monofocal IOL only offer near or far focus. Whereas, multifocal lenses can provide the divers focus ability you seek. Make sure to let your ophthalmologist know if you want to specifically treat presbyopia.
Intraocular lenses for cataracts
Having a cataract is the approximate equivalent of having to see through the foggy or dusty windshield of your car. Lens replacement surgery using intraocular lenses surgery is primarily a cataracts treatment. To treat cataracts with the RLE surgery, the surgeon will replace the cloudy lens with a clear one.
Lens replacement and phakic IOL vs. LASIK surgery
LASIK surgery is a refractive eye procedure that involves reshaping the cornea using laser. LASIK surgery is by far the most popular corrective eye surgery. However, not everyone is considered a suitable candidate. There are some contraindications; for example, people who have sever refractive error, cataracts, or abnormal cornea cannot undergo LASIK surgery.
Intraocular lenses implantation (IOL) or refractive lenses exchange (RLE) are suitable alternatives to the conventional LASIK surgery. Let’s compare some aspects of these procedures:
Corrective uses: While LASIK is the primary procedure to treat mild myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism, it proves ineffective when it comes to moderate to high refractive errors. But, phakic IOL is a safe and effective treatment for high myopia. Additionally, RLE is an appropriate surgical option to treat high hyperopia (farsightedness). The procedure can also treat presbyopia and cataracts.
Procedures: Performed in less than 30 minutes, both LASIK and IOL surgeries are quick procedures. But in terms of the recovery, LASIK has a shorter downtime as it is a less-invasive procedure.
Results: Compared with LASIK surgical results, IOL procedures’ results tend to be longer lasting. According to some studies, the satisfaction rate of phakic surgery is also as high as LASIK surgery.
Cost: The main reason as to why LASIK surgery is the most popular refractive eye surgery is the low cost of the procedure. Intraocular lenses might be as effective as LASIK but they cost almost as twice as LASIK.
However, you shouldn’t deprive yourself from the effective IOL procedures just because they have a higher price. In Iran, you can benefit from affordable lens replacement or lens implantation. Send us a message to get a detailed quote on your customized treatment plan.
How to prepare for IOL surgery
- If you wear contact lenses, let your doctor know. You might be advised to stop wearing them for at least a week before the surgery.
- You may have to go through eye examination or laser iridotomy (for phakic IOL) about one to two weeks prior to the procedure.
- Your doctor might ask you to refrain from certain medications that might increase bleeding during the procedure.
- Do not eat or drink anything within the 12 hours before the surgery.
During the procedure
Before performing the procedure, the surgeon will numb the area and make you lie down on your back. Then based on their individual technique and the type of procedure you need, he or she will operate on the eye. The length of the procedure on each eye shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. If the surgery is needed on both eyes, you might have to wait about a week before having the procedure done on the other eye.
Recovery after intraocular lens surgery
Patients normally report immediate vision improvement after the surgery. There is also little to no discomfort associated with the recovery and the slight stinging feeling can be soothed using prescribed medications. Depending on the type of the procedure (RLE or phakic IOL) and the type of the lenses that are used, complete recovery can take about one to three weeks. Until then, you might experience blurry or hazy vision.
Do not rub your eyes or lift heavy objects during the recovery. Usually, you may resume your daily routine and get back to work or driving within a couple of days. But, you should ask your doctor for a more precise advice.
Common risks and complications after lens replacement and phakic IOL
Compared with other refractive surgeries like LASIK and PRK, lens replacement surgery comes with slightly more risk. However, these complications are rarely sight-threatening and can get treated using medications. Some possible complications of RLE are as follows:
- Retinal detachment
- Increased eye pressure
- Blurry vision
As with phakic IOL, there are even fewer complications associated with the surgery. Yet, it is important to learn about these risks and share them with your ophthalmologist should they concern you. Some complications include:
- Cloudy cornea
- Lens dislocation that might need additional surgery