What Is It?
The lens is a transparent, disk-shaped structure in the eye that focuses light onto the retina, allowing us to see clearly. It is located directly behind the pupil and is held in place by fine ligaments (tough bands of tissue).
A dislocated lens is a lens that has moved out of position because some or all of the supporting ligaments have broken. Some people are born with conditions that can cause weak ligaments and are prone to having a dislocated lens. For example, about half of all people with the hereditary disorder called Marfan's syndrome develop dislocated lenses. A dislocated lens also can be the result of trauma, such as being hit in the eye with a ball or fist. If all of the ligaments have broken so that the lens is loose within the eye, the lens is considered completely detached. If only some of the ligaments have broken, the lens may be pulled off center and is considered partially detached.
A dislocated lens often causes blurred vision. The amount of blurring depends on the extent of the detachment and dislocation. A partially detached lens may not cause any symptoms. When the ligaments that support the lens are damaged, the iris (the circular structure that gives the eye its color) also may lose support and may quiver.
During an eye examination, a physician looks for a lens that appears off-center. In obvious cases, this condition can be seen just by looking at the eye. Most often, however, the physician uses special drops to dilate the pupil of the eye to see the lens behind it more clearly.
The ligaments that hold the lens in place do not heal or reattach. The condition is permanent.
The best way to prevent lens dislocation is to protect the eyes at all times, especially when playing sports. Goggles or protective eyewear can help to keep balls, sticks, fists or other objects from hitting the eye directly. People with a predisposition to lens dislocation should be especially cautious, although they may experience lens dislocation even without trauma.
A dislocated lens usually is not treated. The eye should be monitored by a physician periodically to make sure the condition remains stable.
If dislocation is accompanied by other eye problems or injuries, such as cataract or retinal detachment, it may be necessary to have surgery to remove the lens and replace it with a plastic lens.
Blurry vision caused by dislocated lenses often can be corrected with glasses.
When to Call a Professional
Call a health professional if you experience blurry vision after trauma to the eye.
Glasses may be needed to correct blurry vision from a dislocated lens. In some cases, the lens becomes cloudy over time and may need to be replaced with a plastic lens implant.
American Academy of Ophthalmology
P.O. Box 7424
San Francisco, CA 94120-7424
National Marfan Foundation
22 Manhasset Ave.
Port Washington, NY 11050