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Clear vision on trial

RUB-Eye Clinic fits innovative lenses to treat cataracts

Reading, working on the computer or driving without glasses – these wishes can all come true for cataract patients with the help of an innovative new lens. The RUB Eye Clinic in the Knappsschafts Hospital in Bochum, as one of only two university eye clinics selected to be “Centres of Excellence”, has been making this possible for around three years now by fitting the light adjustable lens (LAL). Its refractive power can be adjusted using UV irradiation after it has been fitted in the eye. The settings for the lens are only fixed when the patient is satisfied. Studies show that not only does the patients’ sight remain good for the long term, but also that the LAL is suited for “extreme” eyes.

With 650,000 operations per year replacing clouded eye lenses is one of the most frequent operations in Germany. Ophthalmologists can select the replacement lens in such a way that any defective vision is corrected to a certain extent, but almost all patients still have to wear glasses afterwards. This is because the new lenses move slightly during healing or scar tissue forms unevenly on the cornea, both of which can lead to other vision defects. The refractive power of the lenses can also deviate slightly from the values printed on the packaging as allowed for in the DIN norm.

The light adjustable lens can almost guarantee focused vision. It is filled with short silicon molecules which interlink when subjected to a certain ultraviolet wave length. Overnight the short molecules move to the appropriate point so as to balance out the differences in concentration, and the lens thickens. By means of precise UV irradiation it is thus possible to shape the lens at will. And what is more, when the patient has tested the lens at home in everyday conditions and is not quite satisfied, it is possible to readjust it. Only then is the lens fixed permanently, once again using ultra violet radiation. One study at the RUB eye clinic showed that the defective vision in all eyes with a LAL were within one dioptre of the target value, however strong the defective vision was before. In 95% of eyes with “normal” defective vision it is even possible to adjust to within 0.25% dioptres of the target value. This was achieved for two thirds of the “extreme” eyes as well.

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