Corneal Associates, PC
840 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107-5109
Cataracts are a common condition that come with age and can cause blindness if not treated. Luckily, cataracts can be removed during a simple procedure, and your clouded lenses can be immediately replaced with technologically advanced intraocular lens implants such as ReSTOR™. These multifocal lenses can also help reverse the loss of vision that is associated with presybopia, or the diminished lens elasticity that results from aging.
Cataracts, the clouding or discoloration of the eye’s normally clear lens, are the most common cause of visual impairment. Modern techniques make it safe and easy to remove cataracts, restore vision, and implant artificial lenses to replace the clouded ones.
Cataract surgery is generally quite simple. In most cases, cataracts can be broken up and removed in a process called phacoemulsification, abbreviated as phaco. An ultrasonic device is used to break up cataracts into multiple pieces, which are then suctioned away. The surgery is performed through a tiny, self-sealing incision in the side of the cornea.
In cases in which cataracts cannot be broken up in this manner, slightly more invasive surgery may be needed. In a process called extracapsular cataract extraction (ECCE), the cataract is removed through a larger incision that requires stitches.
During cataract surgery, it’s possible for an intraocular lens implant to be inserted, permanently replacing your natural lens. Modern-day lens implants can provide many years of good vision, with or without glasses or contacts. With the help of intraocular lens implants, cataract surgery restores good vision in 90 percent of patients.
In years past, the removal of cataracts signaled the permanent loss of one’s natural lenses, creating a need for reading glasses or bifocals for the remainder of one’s life. Fortunately, technologically advanced intraocular lens implants, such as Alcon’s ReSTOR™ IOL, can be safely and easily implanted in the eye at the time of cataract extraction, eliminating or reducing the patient’s reliance on glasses.
The ReSTOR™ IOL uses apodized diffraction, a technology adapted from microscopes and telescopes. Earlier intraocular implants still required that patients use reading glasses to read newspapers, menus, and the like. The ReSTOR™ IOL has none of these shortcomings, giving patients good vision both at a distance and up close.
Multifocal lens surgery takes place at the time of cataract surgery. The ReSTOR™ lens is designed to be implanted through a tiny incision, and then to unfold in the eye. It permanently stays in place by its supporting arms.
Today, the implantation of IOLs is a usual part of cataract surgery. The ReSTOR™ lens mimics your natural lens, giving you good vision at various distances, including up close. Clinical studies have shown that about 80 percent of patients have no need to ever wear glasses or bifocals following the implantation of ReSTOR™, though a perfect result should not be expected.
As people age, our lenses lose elasticity, and we begin to require bifocals or reading glasses. This condition is called presbyopia, and it causes a decrease in vision that cannot be addressed by laser eye surgery. Fortunately, however, multifocal lens surgery can be used to treat presbyopia in patients in their forties or older.
With the popularity of LASIK, many people assume that laser eye surgery that reshapes the cornea is the solution to their vision problems. However, when a patient is in middle age or older, this is often not the case, as your vision loss is usually due to problems with the lens, not the cornea. Therefore, multifocal lens surgery is an effective alternative to LASIK and other types of refractive surgery to improve vision in older patients.
Multifocal lens surgery addresses the loss of vision (especially close vision) brought on by presbyopia by removing your aging natural lenses and implanting a high-tech, multifocal lens such as ReSTOR®. Artificial lenses like ReSTOR® represent an amazing technology that mimics your natural lenses’ ability to focus images that are up-close, far away, and any distance in between.
The surgery to implant multifocal lenses is very similar to cataract surgery. Just as in cataract surgery, a tiny incision is made in the side of your cornea after your eyes have been numbed by anesthetic eye drops. The surgeon will break up your diseased lenses and wash them away. Then, a multifocal lens such as ReSTOR® is inserted through the incision. Once in your eye, it gently unfolds and is designed to stay in place with no maintenance.
Adjusting to a multifocal lens implant takes time, but it is an excellent chance for older patients to decrease their reliance on glasses (including reading glasses or bifocals) or contacts.
If you are 40 or older and are dissatisfied with your visual acuity, multifocal lens surgery may be the answer you are looking for. Contact us today to learn more about how this surgery can help you.