Advanced Technology Lens Implants
Cataract is a common but treatable cause of visual loss, where the natural lens of the eye becomes cloudy and discolored. This can lead to glare symptoms and impairment in visual sharpness that can significantly affect quality of life.
Cataract surgery is highly successful at restoring the loss of vision caused by cataracts, and intraocular lens implants are routinely used to help minimize the need for glasses after surgery.
However, intraocular lens implants did not previously offer a good solution to the need for reading glasses after cataract surgery. Until recently, patients were usually left with good uncorrected distance vision after cataract surgery, but still required reading glasses for all near-vision tasks. In the case of uncorrected astigmatism, both distance and reading vision were suboptimal unless glasses were used postoperatively.
Today, new Advanced Technology Lens Implants address these problems at the time of cataract surgery. These lenses significantly enhance a patient's visual experience after surgery, correcting both astigmatism and the need for reading glasses. During your pre-operative exam, your physician will advise whether you may be a good candidate for such lenses. Please note that there is an additional out-of-pocket expense when Advanced Technology Lens Implants are chosen.
Correcting the Need for Reading Glasses
Many patients develop the permanent need for reading glasses beginning in their 40's ("presbyopia"). LASIK cannot correct this, and multifocal contact lenses are sometimes ineffective or uncomfortable. If cataract surgery becomes necessary, "standard" monofocal lens implants may only correct distance vision, leaving the need for reading glasses unchanged.
Fortunately, several intraocular lens options now offer excellent near, intermediate, and distance vision after surgery. These presbyopia-correcting lenses address patients' ever-changing vision needs, from working on computer screens to reading in low-light. In some situations, glasses might still be required for optimal vision, as is the case with any lens implant. In addition, there may be some cases of night vision halos with the use of these lenses.
Astigmatism Correction with Cataract Surgery
Astigmatism is a condition where the curvature of the eye varies in different directions, much like how a football has a steep curvature and a more gradual curvature. At the time of cataract surgery, a traditional lens implant is not designed to correct astigmatism, so this will remain as a glasses or contact lens prescription postoperatively.
Toric lens implants are now available which correct astigmatism at the time of cataract surgery. Thus, the need for distance glasses postoperatively is greatly diminished. All Richmond Eye Associates surgeons currently offer Toric intraocular lenses.
Which Lens is Right for You?
Use the Vision Simulator to better understand the visual benefits of different lens options.