The Light Adjustable Lens (LAL) is a type of lens implant that provides your cataract surgeon with the ability to fine tune and customize your optical prescription in order to achieve the best possible results-even after the lens has been placed in the eye! This “adjustability” is achieved through a lens material being able to be “photopolymerized” after your surgery in order to adjust the lens implant shape and prescription.
The Light Adjustable Lens is placed into your eye during cataract surgery after your surgeon removes the natural lens in exactly the same way as traditional cataract surgery is performed. After lens placement, your eye will be given time to heal on its own. During the time that your eye heals, patients will need to wear protective glasses at all times to keep your eyes from getting any kind of exposure to UV light. Of course, you can only take them off when you’re showering, sleeping, washing your face, or applying eye drops but if you are exposed to any direct sunlight, you must wear the UV protecting glasses in order to prevent the lens from adjusting its shape before your eyes finish healing. After healing, your eye doctor will give you a visual acuity test to help determine what type of light adjustment will provide the best results and schedule you for in-office non-surgical treatment with a Light Delivery Device (LDD) to finalize the prescription.
Typically, to achieve the best possible vision, you’ll need to undergo several in-office non-surgical light treatment sessions. They require you to look into the Light Delivery Device for about 90 seconds. There’s no need for further surgery to achieve the final prescription or any other form of invasive treatment. The treatment sessions take place three days apart and most patients do their best with 2 or 3 sessions each. Undergoing several light treatment sessions ensures that your IOL is precisely shaped to your exact prescription. The LAL is helpful in achieving excellent results for patients with astigmatism or those who have complex prescriptions as a result of previous eye surgery, trauma or other situations making precise measurements and calculations of lens implant prescriptions challenging. There are some patients who might not be good candidates for the LAL including:
- Taking medications that make you more sensitive to UV light
- You’re on medication that may be harmful to your retina
- A history of eye infections, herpes, or uncontrollable eye movements, known as nystagmus
- You can’t follow the schedule for LDD light treatments
- You are unable to wear the UV-protective glasses after having cataract surgery