The lens implant that saved Ricky Gervais’s partner Jane Fallon: Groundbreaking surgery could save thousands of Britons from sudden blindness

Rare type of glaucoma can lead to attack that destroys vision in 24 hours

New lens replacement surgery could save thousands from going blind 

Producer and bestselling author, Jane Fallon, 55, underwent operation

Thousands of Britons with an eye condition that can cause sudden blindness could be saved by a common type of lens replacement surgery usually used to correct cataracts.

The treatment could be used for a rare type of glaucoma called primary angle-closure glaucoma (PACG), or acute glaucoma, which can lead to a sudden attack that destroys vision in as little as 24 hours.

It occurs when the lens – which sits in the front of the eye and is responsible for visual focus – grows too thick, blocking the natural drainage of aqueous fluid in the eye.

Most patients are offered a type of laser surgery that makes a hole in the front of the eye, allowing the fluid to circulate, so reducing pressure. But now a major international study comparing eye implants with other possible surgical options is expected to show that artificial lenses provide a better outcome.

‘The final results will be reported later this year, but we expect that it will show more favourable results for those patients who have lens replacement,’ said leading consultant ophthalmologist Vik Sharma, of the London Ophthalmology Centre.

Patients who undergo lens replacement will typically no longer need glasses, and will also never develop cataracts, which affect 60 per cent of those over 60.

One PACG patient already to have benefited from lens replacement is Jane Fallon, partner of comedian Ricky Gervais.

A diagram showing how the lens is replaced. The treatment could be used for a rare type of glaucoma called primary angle-closure glaucoma (PACG), or acute glaucoma, which can lead to a sudden attack that destroys vision in as little as 24 hours

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