Emerging Lens Implant Technology
This intraocular lens technology of modern day ophthalmology has recently made some swift advancements that can dramatically improve a patient's ability to see with lens implants after cataract surgery or even as refractive lens exchange before the development of cataracts. Some of these new intraocular lens implants might even be a better vision correction option than LASIK eye surgery depending on your prescription and age. In the past with LASIK eye surgery our doctors could correct myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. Now with the advent of premium multifocal IOL lens implants the giant burden of presbyopia can now be corrected. Presbyopia affects a vast part of our aging population and often requires bifocal glasses. People in their mid forties that have trouble with reading and typically experiencing the first effects of presbyopia. Presbyopia is an accommodation problem with the lens of the eye. As the lens hardens and becomes inflexible with age it becomes more difficult to focus.
Understanding Your Natural Lens
The lens of your eye is an important structure. In order to see clearly at all distances (from up close to far away), your eye must be able to change its focus power. The lens of your eye is responsible for this change in focus- it changes its shape to bring whatever you're looking at into clear focus. In your early 40's, you lost the ability to see up close and required bifocals, or at least reading glasses. This was because, as we age, the lens hardens and cannot change its shape anymore, and in order to focus at different distances, more than one glasses prescription was required.
As we age even more, the lens may become cloudy. A cloudy lens is called a cataract. Cataracts are a common problem among aging Americans, and cataract surgery is the most common surgery performed on adults in the United States. In cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed. In order for you to see clearly afterward, a new lens (called an intraocular lens implant, or IOL) must be inserted at the time of surgery, or on very rare occasions, during a future surgery.
Selecting the right implant for your eye is very important for your visual outcome.
Special eye measurements will provide the data necessary for your surgeon to determine the implant power.
Several years ago patients only had the option of monofocal lens implants, which enabled vision at one distance only. Now these new implants can offer a wide spectrum of vision including near, intermediate and far vision. Premium lens implants have been helping people over 40 and cataract aged patients since they became a viable option. Could you possibly imagine being able to read the newspaper, drive at night or play golf without the use of glasses?
Traditional Lens Implants (MONOFOCAL)
Prior to the new premium lens implant technologies enabling people to see at all distances the only option for lens implants after cataract surgery were known as MONOFOCAL. This meant that the lens implant is only capable of one distance (FAR, MIDDLE, OR NEAR). For years patients would have monofocal lens implants but the require eyeglasses after cataract surgery. In many cases patients would option for a good distance lens and just use glasses for reading or when needed in close proximity.
What are the different types of Advanced Technology Lens Implants?
The implantation procedure is the same for both types of IOLs. The main point of differentiation between the IOLs is in the type of vision they provide.
Advanced Technology Lens Implants
- Presbyopic Correcting Lens Implants (Often suggested for after cataract surgery)
- Toric Lens Implants for Astigmatism correction (Often suggested for after cataract surgery)
- Lens Implants for highly myopic patients (Often suggested if LASIK is not a good option due to high myopia)
Advanced Technology Lens Implants
- Restor TORIC IOL
ReSTOR® Lens Implants by Alcon
The ReSTOR® lens is an artificial lens implant that is designed to replace the natural lens of the eye. Made of a soft, flexible plastic material, the ReSTOR® lens has a patented design that allows it to focus light on the retina for clear vision at near, far, and intermediate distances. In just a few hours, the ReSTOR® lens can be inserted in the eye, then quickly and easily unfolded to restore vision during a brief visit. The result is a remarkable improvement in both the quality (sharp, clear images at all distances) and quantity (a full range) of vision.
Who is a candidate for ReSTOR® lens implants?
The ReSTOR® lens is FDA approved for the treatment of cataracts. ReSTOR® lens implants are available at our Springfield, Massachusetts eye center to all patients with cataracts and/or presbyopia (difficulty with close-up vision). The ideal candidate for the ReSTOR® lens is someone who is seeking better vision at all distances - near, far, and intermediate - without the hassle of glasses or contact lenses.
Accommodating Intraocular lenses
Crystalens by Bausch & Lomb
An accommodating Intraocular lens is one that can move or change its shape in the eye. By doing this it changes its power so that it can focus from far to near. The only accommodating lens currently available is Crystalens made by Bausch & Lomb. This is wonderful technology and is especially useful in those people who want the crispest distance vision as well as an excellent ability to see intermediate distance which includes things like computer, grocery shelves, auto gauges. In fact much of our time is spent looking at things in the intermediate range. Most people who receive Crystalens in both eyes are thrilled with the quality and range of vision. The one drawback of this lens is that some people will still need glasses for very close vision and when trying to read the smallest print.
Toric IOL by Alcon
Alcon Toric IOL
Many cataract patients suffer from astigmatism and have required glasses or contact lenses to drive or read for much of their adult lives. Toric lens implants correct for astigmatism when positioned in the eye. Toric IOLs are placed in the patient's eye during routine cataract surgery just as the other intraocular lenses.
In the same way that Toric contact lenses reduce or correct astigmatism, patients can receive Toric intraocular lens implants to restore sharper distance vision. When the eye's natural lens (cataract) is removed and replaced with a Toric IOL, imperfections in the eye's shape are improved, resulting in clearer vision without the need for multiple incisions, as is common in other astigmatism surgeries. In addition, recovery time is shorter and more comfortable than with older methods.
PRECAUTIONS: As with any type of surgery there are risks involved including disturbances and secondary surgical intervention. The effect on vision with the Alcon Toric IOL in subjects with hereditary color vision defects and acquired color vision defects secondary to ocular disease (e.g., glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, chronic uveitis, and other retinal or optic nerve diseases has not been studied.
Questions Regarding Intraocular Lens Implants
1. What types of people and distinct ages should consider an IOL?
ANSWER: Candidates for lens implants may vary from patients over the age of 40-45 to those suffering from cataracts. Most people seeking lens implants desire a full range of vision not just vision at one distance. Monofocal lens implants are typically not attractive to these candidates who desire this full range of vision.
2. Is lens implant surgery safe and what is the track record of success?
ANSWER: The process for inserting these premium lens implants is basically the same process as cataract surgery. SEE our detailed explanation in the above section regarding the surgical process. This process, known as phacoemulsification, has been performed for over 25 years and on millions of eyes.
3. Is there an additional cost to get a Advanced Technology Lens implant?
ANSWER: There is an additional cost with premium lens implants including multifocal, accommodating or toric lens implants. Medicare will pay the standard cataract fee and you will be expected to pay an additional charge for the lifestyle lens and related technical services.
4. When can I return to work or start regular lifestyle activities after this surgical process?
ANSWER: Please consult your eye doctors directly regarding post-operative Instructions. Many people can drive and return to work after only a few days. Your eyes may still be sensitive to light after the lens implantation process and sunglasses are recommended for outdoor activity.