Advances in Lens Implant Technology: Making You Less Dependent on Glasses
Over the past few years, new ‘premium’ lens implants have been introduced that are capable of correcting astigmatism and presbyopia, two common problems that were previously impossible to correct with standard cataract surgery.
About 1 in 4 patients has visually significant astigmatism. Astigmatism is an abnormality in the shape of the front surface of the eye, the cornea, which results in visual blurring and makes patients dependent upon glasses. Small amounts of astigmatism (less than 1 diopter) can be corrected during standard cataract surgery using a ‘Limbal Relaxing Incision’. However, higher amounts of astigmatism can not be reliably corrected with this technique. If you have moderate or high astigmatism, the Alcon Acrysof Toric intraocular lens is an excellent, reliable, and safe option to eliminate the need for distance glasses after surgery. Typically, there is an extra fee for the lens (which is not fully covered by insurance). However, it is important to remember that this lens will be in your eye forever, and that over time most patients end up saving money because they no longer need to purchase expensive, astigmatism-correcting glasses.
Presbyopia refers to the inability to ‘accomodate’ or to see up close as one gets older. Standard lens implants are monofocal, meaning that they only give sharp vision at a single distance (either far away or up close). Therefore, most patients after standard lens surgery see great at distance, but are dependent on reading glasses for near. The new presbyopia-correcting lenses are mutlifocal oraccomodating and offer patients improved near vision in addition to excellent distance vision. In our practice, we use three different types of presbyopia-correcting lenses: Crystalens®, ReSTOR®, andTecnis Multifocal. Each lens has its own particular features and strengths, and if you are interested in these lenses we will discuss them with you in detail during your visit.
This is an exciting time in cataract surgery, with new lenses that will allow you to be less dependent on glasses after surgery. Be sure to ask us if you are a candidate for these new implants.
Brad Feldman, M.D.