Cataracts are one of the most common eye conditions, particularly among older patients. The natural lens of the eye is made up primarily of water and proteins. Usually, these proteins are evenly dispersed across the lens so that they don’t interfere with our vision. However, as we get older, the proteins change and begin to clump together, causing cloudy patches in our vision. People with cataracts compare the effects of looking through frosted glass. Cataracts usually affect both eyes, although they don’t necessarily develop at the same pace in each.
Cataracts are progressive and without treatment, they will get worse until they reach a point where your vision is so poor you can be considered blind. Fortunately, there is an effective solution for cataracts. Cataract surgery removes the clouded lens and replaces it with an artificial alternative - an intraocular lens, or IOL. An IOL is an artificial replacement for the natural lens of your eye. Made from clear plastic, there are several different types, and which is right for you will depend on your individual circumstances.
Traditional IOLs improve vision at only one focal point, which is usually distance vision. This means that many patients require prescription glasses for close and intermediate vision following their cataract surgery – something which can be inconvenient and something that patients are keen to avoid. In addition to this, traditional IOLs don’t correct astigmatism, which is another type of refractive eye error that typically requires patients to be reliant on prescription lenses.
Specialty IOLs are designed to help reduce or eliminate patient dependence on glasses following cataract surgery and as such, can correct the vision of patients with both astigmatism and presbyopia (age-related problems with near and intermediate vision). These IOLs are:
Astigmatism is very common, particularly after cataract surgery. Toric IOLs are designed to correct this, enabling patients to see at a distance with little or no reliance on prescription glasses following their cataract surgery. Toric IOLs have different powers in different parts of the lens to correct the asymmetric power of the eye that characterizes astigmatism. Once the lens is implanted into your eye, your surgeon can then rotate it so that it is in the correct alignment for you to achieve the best possible vision.
Multifocal IOLs are designed to correct presbyopia, enabling patients to see clearly at all distances. They work in the same way as bifocal and multifocal contact lenses, but since they are implanted inside the eye, they don’t require any care or replacement. Again, they are placed into the eye, and once in position, you cannot see or feel them, yet you will enjoy significantly corrected vision.
As their name suggests these specialty intraocular lenses are designed to correct both presbyopia and astigmatism and are the best option for patients suffering from both of these conditions. They work by elongating the range of focus of the eye and providing a continuous range of vision at near, intermediate and distance, while also having toric options to correct corneal astigmatism.
If you are thinking about cataract surgery and you would like to learn more about specialty IOLs to reduce your reliance on glasses following your treatment, please contact our knowledgeable team in Edgewater, FL, or New Smyrna Beach, FL to discuss your options.