Advanced Technology Lens Implants
Cataract is a common but treatable cause of visual loss, where the natural lens of the eye becomes clouded. This can lead to impairment in visual sharpness and can cause significant glare symptoms that can affect the 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, until recently, intraocular lens implants offered no good solution for the need for reading glasses after cataract surgery. A person may be left with good distance vision without glasses, but would still require reading glasses.
In the case of uncorrected astigmatism, both distance and reading vision would be suboptimal unless glasses were used postoperatively.
Today, there are new technology, advanced lens implants that address these problems at the time of cataract surgery. These are often referred to as "Advanced Technology Lens Implants", "Premium Lens Implants", and "Lifestyle Lens Implants".
But the bottom line is that the use of these lens give a person the best chance possible of an enhanced visual experience after surgery, correcting astigmatism and the need for reading glasses. Please note that there is an additional out-of-pocket expense when Advanced Technology Lens Implants are used.
Correcting the Need for Reading Glasses
Virtually everyone develops the need for reading glasses ("presbyopia") in their 40's, and reading glasses become a permanent part of their lives. Lasik cannot correct this and multifocal contact lenses are problematic. If cataract surgery becomes necessary, traditional lens implants only correct distance vision, leaving the need for reading glasses unchanged.
There are different ways that an intraocular lens implant can correct near vision. The ReSTOR® lens is a multifocal lens implant that is used by some of the Richmond Eye Associates surgeons. This lens gives excellent near and distance vision, and good intermediate vision. In some situations, glasses might still be required for optimal vision, as is the case with any lens implant. There may be some cases of night vision halos with the use of this lens.
The Crystalens® is an accommodating lens implant, meaning that it actually changes position in the eye slightly to increase focusing when desired. This lens give excellent distance and intermediate vision, and good near vision. There are minimal sided effects of night time halos with this lens. In some situations, glasses might still be required for optimal vision, as is the case with any lens implant. This lens is used by some of the surgeons of Richmond Eye Associates.
Astigmatism Correction with Cataract Surgery
Astigmatism is a condition where the curvature of the eye is different in different directions, much like 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.
However, toric lens implants are now available which correct the nearsightedness and farsightedness as well as astigmatism at the time of cataract surgery. Thus, the need for distance glasses postoperatively is greatly diminished. At present, there is not an astigmatism and presbyopia correcting lens implant available in the United States, but these are on the horizon.
Some of the surgeons of Richmond Eye Associates implant the AcrySof IQ Toric lens implant. Other surgical options for astigmatism correction include placing surgical incisions in the cornea at the time of cataract surgery to reduce astigmatism (limbal relaxing incisions - LRIs), and by using Lasik or PRK postoperatively.