Aphakia is a term meaning the natural lens is missing. Absence of a lens is often the result of surgical procedures such as cataract removal but also can be injury-related or more rarely, due to a congenital defect. A person who has had cataract surgery without a lens implant is said to be "aphakic".
Who can get it?
In the case of a congenital defect, a person is simply born with it. Most of the time, anyone who has had cataract removal is considered aphakic since the cloudy lens (the cataract) is removed through Phacoemulsification.
What is the treatment?
Glasses (refractive treatment) are often very thick (bottle-glass) lens prescriptions. The typical lens powers range from +12 dioptors to +20 dioptors. With this type of lens correction, the visual field is significantly reduced. The individual frequently feels uneasy in driving and other activities which require peripheral awarness and depth perception.
A better treatment for aphakia is contact lenses which can restore the field of vision with minimum distortion and no loss of binocularity or depth perception.
In many cases the best treatment is to have a second operation performed in which an intra-ocular lens implant (IOL) is inserted. The IOL is usually placed behind the iris (Posterior IOL). Sometimes the IOL is located in front of the iris, if vitreous is moving through the pupil (Anterior IOL).
For more information see: Pseudophakia, Cataract and Intraocular Implant
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