What is aphakia?

The lenses are the parts of the eye inside the pupil that focus light on the back of the eye. They are like magnifiers that can adjust to different thicknesses. When people have cataracts, the lenses in their eyes get cloudy and stiff. When lenses have cataracts, most people ask the doctor to take them out. Once they are removed, the people have aphakia. The word comes from Latin words which mean "no lenses."

What causes aphakia?

Aphakia is caused by the doctor removing the lens of the eye. Please read about cataracts on this website to learn why the doctor would remove the lens.

What kind of vision do people have who have aphakia?

Sometimes doctors can put plastic lenses in the eyes after they take out the cataracts. People who have the plastic lenses may not see as clearly as people who are fully-sighted, but they can see pretty well. They might wear glasses to see even better.

If the doctors cannot put in plastic lenses, the people cannot see clearly up close and far away. Glasses and contact lenses help clear their vision. They may not be able to clear the vision enough to make it like the vision of a fully sighted person. But the vision will be better than when the cataracts were there.

What will help you if you have aphakia?

  1. Wear your contacts or your glasses or both if you have them.
  2. Wear sunglasses and a hat to keep the sun out of your eyes. The sun can make it harder to see. The sun can damage your eyes when there is no lens to shade them a little.
  3. Keep the light behind you or next to you. If you are facing the light, it will be hard to see people or things between you and the light. Try to get indoor lights that you can make dimmer or brighter for yourself.
  4. It may help to use a magnifier to see things up close.
  5. It may help to use a monocular telescope to see things far away.

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