Cataract surgery, which replaces the eye’s cloudy lens with an artificial clear lens (called an intraocular lens, or IOL), is the most common operation in the U.S. More than half of adults over age 65 have some degree of cataract development, which causes painless, progressive vision loss. People 65 and older are also more likely to be involved in car crashes than people in their 30s, 40s and 50s. Fortunately, new technology has allowed for the development of an innovative night vision-enhancing IOL that can help elderly drivers with cataracts avoid accidents.
The multifocal IOL was designed to provide cataract surgery patients with high-quality vision comparable to that of young people. Its main concern is improving safety with vision correction. It is meant to improve functional vision - the ability to see objects in varying light conditions - especially at night and twilight and in rain, snow and fog. This means improved night vision and reduction of spherical aberrations, an undesirable scattering of light that is a common side effect of cataract surgery.
In a normal healthy eye, the cornea is round and shaped like a basketball. Astigmatism occurs when the cornea is shaped more like a football. When light passes through the cornea with astigmatism, images do not focus sharply on the retina resulting in blurry vision. A toric IOL helps compensate for the abnormal curvature of the cornea and corrects astigmatism whereas a standard IOL does not. Glasses are typically still needed for reading when a toric IOL has been implanted.
Candidates for premium IOLs
A premium IOL may be ideal for cataract patients who have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty reading
- Difficulty seeing objects up close
- Difficulty with driving, especially at night
- Need for bifocals
- Glasses prescription that changes frequently
Your doctor will determine whether or not one of these lenses is right for you after a comprehensive eye exam and evaluation of your medical history and goals for surgery.
Implantation of a premium IOL involves the same procedure that has been used to treat cataracts for many years. During the procedure, a tiny incision is made in the eye, into which a small probe is inserted. The probe breaks apart the cloudy natural lens and gently suctions it out. The lens is then inserted through the same incision and positioned over the eye, which will heal quickly with little to no pain.
Once the procedure is completed, patients will be able to return home after about an hour or so of observation, and can likely return to work and other regular activities the next day. There may be some itching, discomfort and sensitivity to light after surgery, which can be managed through eye drops prescribed by your doctor. These symptoms usually go away within a few days as the eye heals and patients can begin to enjoy the many benefits of their new lens.
After cataract surgery with the multifocal IOL, patients are usually able to achieve clear vision at multiple distances, with as many as 9 out of 10 patients eliminating the need for glasses. While results are noticeable right away, vision will continue to improve over time as the patient adjusts to the lens. Some patients may experience halos at night immediately after surgery, but these usually lessen or go away with time.
Patients who select a toric IOL experience better quality of vision and less dependency on glasses as well.
Risks are the same as with any other IOL implantation in cataract surgery and include corneal edema, iritis, hyphema, macular edema, retinal detachment and lens dislocation. These risks are considered rare and can be further reduced by following your doctor’s instructions before and after surgery.
To learn more about the cataract surgery performed with the premium IOLs, please call us today to schedule a consultation and find out whether or not this lens is right for you.