Restoring a Full Range of Vision
In order to understand how the eye deteriorates as it ages, it is useful to think of the eye like a camera. The natural lens focuses images onto the back of the eye so we can see clearly, much like the lens of a camera focuses images onto film for a clear picture. At birth, our natural lens is clear, but as we age it hardens, which is called presbyopia. In addition, the lens will eventually discolor and become cloudy. This eye condition is called a cataract, and is usually a result of the natural aging process.
Everyone will at some point develop cataracts. They usually begin to noticeably affect your vision sometime after the age of 60. As your natural lens develops a cataract, vision becomes blurred. Symptoms include a gradual dulling of colors, halos around lights, glare when driving, difficulty reading in low light, blurred or double vision, and a frequent need to change your glasses prescription. A cataract can progress until eventually there is a complete loss of vision in your eye. Cataract surgery is the only way this aging lens can be removed. You should consider surgery when cataracts cause enough loss of vision to interfere with your daily activities.
What Are My Lens Replacement Options?
There are many types of intraocular lenses (IOLs) to choose from to correct a cataract. In addition, many people with clear lenses are opting for lens exchange with newer options to improve near and distance vision. Lens replacement is the most frequently performed surgery in the U.S. and one of the safest as well. You have three options today in choosing a lens replacement solution for your vision needs.
Correcting Distance Vision with a Monofocal IOL
A monofocal IOL is designed to provide clear distance vision. This means you will be able to see objects far away. However, you will need glasses for reading and any type of close detailed work. Monofocal IOLs have been the standard implant used for decades to help patients after a cataract is removed. Millions of monofocal IOLs have been successfully implanted providing cataract patients with clear distance vision with glasses.
Correcting Distance Vision and Astigmatism
Today’s cataract patient demands excellent vision after surgery, and wants astigmatism and refractive error corrected at the same time. There are two ways we correct pre-existing astigmatism during cataract surgery. The most advanced method uses a new type of lens implant, called a Toric lens, which incorporates unique optics to compensate for specific deficiencies in your vision.
Toric lenses greatly reduce the likelihood of needing a second procedure after cataract surgery to correct residual astigmatism. For those patients who suffer from astigmatism so pronounced that they are outside the power range of the Toric lens, we recommend a combination treatment of lens replacement and relaxing incisions that delivers both improved vision and astigmatism correction. Once we fully understand your level of astigmatism, and desire for improved distance vision and/or near vision, we will recommend the appropriate lens implant option for you.
Correcting Distance and Near Vision with Multifocal or Accommodating IOLs
Previous lens replacement technologies provided only one focal point – distance – leaving people dependent upon reading glasses or bifocals after cataract surgery. Recent advances in accommodative and multifocal technology now make it possible for you to read the words on prescription bottles, magazines, newspapers and computer screens, without magnifying glasses or bifocals, while still clearly seeing objects at a distance. These lenses have the ability to consistently offer improved vision at all ranges – near through distance. With the recent introduction of three new lenses – ReSTOR 3.0, Crystalens HD and Tecnis Multifocal – the vision we can help you maintain as you age is better than ever before in the history of ophthalmology.
The AcrySof® ReSTOR® multifocal lens uses patented technology similar to that used in microscopes and telescopes to improve image quality. Twelve very small, concentric circles work together to focus light for both near and distance vision. With the new ReSTOR 3.0, vision delivery has been adjusted so that people are able to hold reading materials at a more comfortable distance, further improving clarity of vision at mid-range for tasks such as reading store labels and computer screens.
The AMO Tecnis® multifocal IOL uses concentric refractive zones to create multifocal vision. Diffractive rings start very close to the center of the lens and then continue out toward the periphery, with an increasing distance between the rings. This design performs well regardless of pupil size, providing excellent near vision even in the presence of relatively small pupils.
The Tecnis implant was designed with an aspheric shape to correct for certain, more complex vision errors, known as higher-order aberrations, which helps improve ability to see contrasting objects, particularly at night.
The Bausch & Lomb Crystalens® accommodating lens is designed to improve the eye’s accommodative ability, which is gradually reduced as presbyopia progresses. Crystalens has hinges on both sides of the IOL so it can be moved more easily by the ciliary muscle, allowing the eye to focus more naturally at a greater range of distances than traditional IOLs.
ReSTOR, Crystalens and Tecnis Multifocal IOLs have demonstrated effectiveness in improving near, intermediate and distance vision in FDA clinical trials. We believe these newest lens implants provide excellent vision quality to those weighing their lens choice options. We will discuss with you which lens will be best-suited for your vision needs.
At Eye Care Northwest, we’re experts in both laser-based and lens-based approaches. We tailor recommendations to the personal needs of each individual, so the best place for you to start is with a comprehensive evaluation.