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New Cataract Procedure Restores Full Range of Vision

The human eye functions much like a camera. Light passes through the lens of the camera and is focused on the film. Like a camera, the eye also has a lens. Normally this is a clear, transparent structure through which light can freely pass and focus on the retina, but not with cataracts.

What Are Cataracts?

A cataract is a clouding of all or part of the normally clear lens within your eye that results in blurred or distorted vision. As the cataract develops, the clouded lens reduces the amount of light that can enter the eye, resulting in blurred or foggy vision. Some signs of cataracts are increasing glare from bright lights and sunlight, faded and washed out colors (especially blues and greens), and vision that becomes indistinct and hazy, making it difficult to read or perform simple tasks. Cataracts may affect both eyes at a different rate, or they may affect only one eye. Cataracts are found most often in people over the age of 55 but they are occasionally found in younger people. Studies show that over half of all people will have some cataract formation before the age of 60 and almost all will develop them after the age of 70. For early cataract changes, vision may be improved by simply changing your eyeglass prescription, using a magnifying lens, or increasing lighting when you do visually demanding tasks. Eventually, cataracts get to a point where the only effective intervention is performed by a cataract eye surgeon. This decision is made based mainly on the degree of visual limitation that you may be experiencing.

How Cataract Surgery Works

Cataract surgery involves removing the natural lens and inserting an implantable intraocular lens, or IOL, in its place. Due to advancements in technology, cataract surgery is today considered to be one of the safest and most successful surgeries in the United States with over three million procedures done each year. The treatment used to remove cataracts is called phacoemulsification. During this outpatient procedure, surgeons typically use topical anesthetic drops to numb the eye. Then a very small incision is made in the clear cornea. Using a tiny, ultrasonic probe, the cataract is gently broken apart and removed. Once the cloudy cataract lens is removed, a customized, clear intraocular lens, either a multifocal or monofocal, is implanted permanently into the eye. Since the incision is small, sutures usually are not necessary. As the natural lens plays a vital role in focusing light for clear vision, artificial-lens implantation at the time of cataract surgery is necessary to yield the best visual results. Because the implant is placed in or near the original position of the removed natural lens, vision can be restored, and peripheral vision, depth perception, and image size should not be affected. Artificial lenses are intended to remain permanently in place, require no maintenance or handling, and are neither felt by the patient nor noticed by others.

Lens Replacement Options

There are a variety of intraocular lens types available for implantation including Basic Monofocal, Multifocal and Accommodative, and Toric. Based on your individual lifestyle needs and on findings during your cataract eye examination, a lens will be recommended to best suit your needs.

A Lens to Fit Your Lifestyle

“Lifestyle Lenses” are an artificial lens implant that, unlike a standard IOL, can treat both a person’s cataracts and presbyopia—loss of near and intermediate vision. Lifestyle Lenses not only treat your cataracts, but many patients hardly, if ever, wear glasses after surgery. They do so by recreating flex and accommodation similar to your eye’s natural lens. The unique Lifestyle Lenses are designed to allow you to enjoy a fuller, more natural range of vision for most activities, including: reading a book, working on the computer, and driving a car. These lenses are modeled after the human eye. Like the natural lens, it is a lens implant that uses the eye muscle to flex and accommodate in order to focus on objects in the environment at all distances. Lifestyle Lenses dynamically adjust to your visual needs.

What’s Right for You?

Today there are multiple types of IOLs, each delivering a different performance profile based on how the lens is designed. Consult your eye doctor to find out which is best for you and if Lifestyle Lenses may help you gain a full range of vision without needing glasses.

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