In June’s first blog, we addressed some general information about the development of cataracts, a nearly universal condition among humans as they age. Once a person develops a cataract, there isn’t any way to reverse or “cure” the problem. The cloudy natural lens needs to be surgically removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). This lens will then remain in the eye for the remainder of the person’s life, dramatically improving their vision in the area or method they opted for when choosing their IOL.
At Wilkinson Eye Center, we offer three options for your intraocular replacement lenses. Each has different characteristics in the range of vision improvement they provide, not only returning crystal clear vision to the patient, but also addressing issues such as astigmatism and presbyopia. Here are the premium replacement lenses we offer.
Our most advanced lenses, Crystalens treats both cataracts and presbyopia (the stiffening of the eye’s natural lenses as we age that lessens the ability to focus on objects up close) at the same time. In the past, IOL options were monofocal, meaning they were only able to provide excellent vision at one point of focus, usually distance vision. Crystalens uses your eye muscles to flex the replacement lens, allowing it to focus on all distances, as your natural eye lens did. This allows you to see things at distance (watching TV, looking at distant vistas, driving), intermediate range (the kitchen counter, your car’s dashboard, faces in conversation), and near (reading, working on the computer, tallying your golf scorecard). This is a revolution of sorts in IOL technology and vastly decreases the need for glasses in most daily activities. For prolonged reading or very fine print, you may still need over-the-counter reading glasses.
Unlike some multifocal lens implants, Crystalens is designed with a smooth center, so the lens is able to deliver 100 percent of the light to the retina, even at night. This eliminates the halo effect that can come with other multifocal lenses when used for night driving.
Toric lens implants are specially designed to replace your clouded cataract lens and to also correct for astigmatism. When you have astigmatism, your cornea has an oval shape rather than the preferred round shape. This makes it more difficult to focus at certain distances. In the past, astigmatism has limited the degree of improvement that could be gained with IOLs, because they didn’t deal with astigmatism. Glasses were still required to correct the deficiency. Toric lenses correct astigmatism.
Toric lenses are now available in all types of IOLs.
Monofocal or Standard Lenses
Monofocal IOLs are not “premium” IOLs, meaning they are fully covered by Medicare and most insurance plans. With premium IOLs the patient has to pay the difference between the standard monofocal lens and the multifocal lens.
Standard intraocular lenses deliver one point of focus: close, mid-range, or distance. You can choose the distance you will see clearly and use glasses for other distances.
Or you can opt for monovision, where the lens in your dominant eye is set for distance vision and your non-dominant eye is set for mid-range or near vision. It may seem that this arrangement would make the person disoriented, but the brain adapts remarkably, giving the patient a fuller range of vision with less dependence on glasses.
The team at Wilkinson Eye Center will help you with the decision on the type of IOL you desire. If your cloudy vision feels like you’re perpetually looking through a dirty window, it’s time to call us at Wilkinson Eye Center, (248) 334-4931, and set up a consultation for cataract surgery.