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Over fifty percent of people over the age of 60 (and quite a few younger than that) suffer from cataracts. Almost everyone develops cataracts as they grow older. Cataract formations occur at different rates and can affect one or both eyes.
A cataract is a progressive clouding of the eye’s natural lens. Early changes may not disturb vision, but over time cataracts typically result in blurred or fuzzy vision and sensitivity to light. People with cataracts often say they feel as if they are looking through a waterfall or a piece of wax paper.
During cataract surgery, your cloudy lens (the cataract) is removed and replaced by a clear lens implant (IOL). If surgery is recommended for you, there is GREAT NEWS! Thanks to modern technology, you now have the opportunity to choose a replacement lens that can help you reclaim much of your youthful vision. Basic lens implants can thin your glasses prescription and restore clarity to your vision. Today’s advanced technology lenses can dramatically reduce or even eliminate your dependence on glasses!
It is important for you to understand the lens replacement options that are available to you so that you can be prepared to decide with your doctor when the time is right for you. These implants are made to last FOREVER and should NEVER need to be replaced. The following is some general information for you about lens options for cataract surgery:
Monofocal lenses provide clear vision for a single distance (i.e. near or far) and are usually chosen to make your distance vision clearer. With a monofocal lens implant, even if you do not currently need to wear glasses for near vision activities (i.e. reading the newspaper, doing crossword puzzles, dialing a phone, or working at a computer), after surgery there is a high likelihood that you will. Depending on your degree of astigmatism, you may also need glasses for distance activities such as driving. Surgery with a monofocal IOL implant is covered by Medicare and most commercial insurance plans with the usual out of pocket expenses, such as your deductible, co-pays, and/or co-insurance. This is the basic option.
Astigmatism occurs when an eye is out of round. A round eye sees better than an eye that is not round. Some astigmatism can be corrected with corneal relaxing incisions at the time of cataract surgery to make the eye rounder. Larger amounts of astigmatism may need a Toric lens implant to correct all the astigmatism. The Toric lens or relaxing incisions can usually give you good vision at distance for driving, TV, and sporting events. Glasses will be needed for reading, as well as intermediate vision. All of the advanced or customizable lens implants include astigmatism correction.
Extended Depth of Focus (EDOF) lenses are designed to provide a continuous range of vision with glasses-free clarity for distance, intermediate distance (computer, car dashboard, etc), and most near vision tasks. Patients typically report needing reading glasses for small print and extended reading, but overall enjoy a very wide range of vision with little need for correction. These lenses help patients achieve excellent intermediate and some near vision as well without loss of distance vision. Because of the way light is focused, an eye that may not be an ideal candidate for multifocal implants because of health issues such as dry eye, glaucoma, retinal irregularities may still be a good candidate for these EDOF technologies.
Multifocal lenses are made up of concentric circles, which vary to allow the eye to focus at different distances. The center of the lens provides distance power, with each surrounding ring being used to stabilize vision at intermediate and close range. The PanOptix Trifocal IOL is the first and only FDA-approved trifocal lens implant. This exciting new lens technology offers an exceptional combination of near, intermediate, and distance vision for patients with active lifestyles. While no implant can be guaranteed to completely eliminate the need for glasses or contacts for all tasks, the range of vision offered by the PanOptix trifocal lens is undoubtedly the largest of currently available technologies. This is the lens to choose if you have a healthy eye and value the greatest independence from glasses with an infrequent need for reading glasses.
A Crystalens implant is a flexible implant that moves in the eye, simulating the autofocus function of the natural lens. This provides a larger range of focus than the mono-focal lenses without the potential for nighttime glare typical with multifocal implants. Although most people find that they still need reading glasses, being flexible and moving also gives you a better range of vision. Therefore, you can expect good distance and intermediate vision (i.e. eating, dashboard, computer), with some near vision. Crystalens is also excellent at correcting astigmatism. This is a good lens option if you desire expanded freedom from glasses, but aren’t an ideal candidate for multifocal lenses.
Hunkeler Eye Institute, P.A.
7950 College Blvd. Suite B
Overland Park, KS 66210
Monday- Friday: 8:00AM - 5:00PM
Saturday and Sunday: Closed