Sanjay Suresh, B.Tech (First Year), Christ University, Bengaluru
Intraocular lens(IOL) is a lens implanted in the eye as part of treatment for cataracts or myopia. If the natural lens is left in the eye, the IOL is known as phakic, otherwise it is a pseudo phakic. Such a lens is typically implanted during cataract surgery after the eye’s cloudy natural lens(cataract) has been removed. The pseudo phakic IOL provides the same light-focusing function as the natural crystalline lens. The phakic type of IOL is placed over the existing natural lens and is used in refractive surgery to change the eye’s optical power as a treatment for myopia (near sightedness).
The invention of an implantable, tolerable and technically feasible IOL was a revolution in cataract surgery. In 1795, the first lens made from glass Casaamata(named for the inventor) were used, but the IOL dropped in the eye due to its weight. The real beginning of usable IOL technology occurred during World War II. Sir Harold Ridley was an on-duty eye surgeon who cared for crashed pilots. He observed that small pieces of cupolas (i.e., PMMA from crashed planes) that penetrated the eye during the crash did not cause an inflammatory reaction. The material was not rejected by the body and stayed inert in the eye.
Ridley recognized that this material could be ideal for artificial lens implantation. After detailed research, Sir Harold Ridley implanted the first IOL on November 27, 1947, at Saint Thomas Hospital, in London. The IOL, Transpex I (Rayner, Brighton Hove, UK), was successfully implanted into a 45-year-old female’s eye.2
Today, the advances in IOL designs have enabled people to get back their gift of sight in situations that would have previously been considered a disaster. Advances in IOL technology have made available various state of the art IOLs. These new lens designs include: 1) Blue-light blocking IOLs that filter out harmful ultraviolet radiation as well as blue light, 2) Aberration-free IOLs which greatly improves image quality by enhancing contrast, eliminating glare and haloes, and improving night vision, and 3) the newer Multifocal IOLs which provides good unaided distance and near vision with less dependence on glasses. 4) Toric IOLs are also available for the correction of high cylindrical spectacle numbers.
Depending on the patients’ personal visual needs, the surgeon decides the most appropriate lens to implant in the eye.
In the biomedical field there are too many advances to list but a few stand out as exceptional ones. One among them is the invention of Intraocular lens because it gives back a person his/her gift of sight. When you give someone the gift of sight, you’re not just helping one person to see again, you’re supporting an entire community.
1) Scholtz, S., 2006. An ophthalmic success story: The history of IOL materials. Cataract and Refractive Surgery Today Europe, pp.61-62.
2) Argal, S., 2013. Newer intraocular lens materials and design. Journal of Clinical Ophthalmology and Research, 1(2), p.113.
3) Ridley, H., 1960. INTRA-OCULAR ACRYLIC LENSES 10 YEARS’DEVELOPMENT. The British journal of ophthalmology, 44(12), p.705.