Cataracts are common, but painless, eye problems affecting many people starting age 45 and older. In normal vision, the eye’s lens is clear, and allows light to pass through and hit the retina, the light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the eyes consist mostly of water and protein. As people age, these proteins can break down and clump together, causing a yellowish-brown pigment that can cloud the lens. This clouding reduces the amount of light that can pass through to the retina and affect a person’s vision. The National Institutes of Health have determined that, by age 80, more than half of Americans will either have a cataract or will have undergone cataract surgery.
Cataract surgery is currently one of the safest and most performed outpatient procedures in the United States. Conventional procedure involves removing the clouded lens and replacing it with an artificial lens implant called an intraocular lens, also known as an IOL. If more than one eye is affected by cataracts, one eye is operated on at a time and allowed to heal for a few weeks before starting on the other. Traditionally, the patient would have to choose whether they want their IOL to correct near or distant vision. For these monofocal lenses, glasses would still have to be worn to compensate for the type of vision that was not corrected by the surgery. However, recent technology has created an option that allows the patient to retain the ability to control near and distance vision.
Crystalens by Bausch and Lomb is an FDA-approved silicone IOL that has hinges on each side of the lens that enables the user to automatically focus the lens at all distances. This method is called “accommodation” and simulates the natural tightening and relaxing of the eye muscles when adjusting the lens for close or distance vision. In an article published online for “All About Vision”, Crystalens has also been found to be less likely to produce visual side effects for distance vision such as glare and halos. It has also been shown to cause less problems with night vision.
Crystalens is categorized as a “presbyopia-correcting” or “premium” IOL. This means that the lens also corrects presbyopia, a gradual weakening of the eye muscles with age that makes it difficult to focus on and see things up close. This is another painless condition that affects people in their forties and over that can be accommodated by a premium implant.
It is always important to consult with a doctor of ophthalmology when considering any kind of surgery concerning your vision, but there seems to be a general consensus that the best candidates for Crystalens surgery include people who have both cataracts and hyperopia (farsightedness) that cause problems with near vision. Eighty percent of patients participating in U.S. clinical trials who received Crystalens HD implants achieved 20/20 or better near vision quality.
Some patients may express concerns about the durability of Crystalens. However, the company website at crystalens.com assures the potential patient that the implant is durable. Patients who have had the lenses in for over seven years have not experienced any loss of vision or reduction in the flexibility of the hinges.
We are fortunate to live in an era where technology is a constantly evolving part of our daily lives. Now, more than ever, there is a greater and more convenient range of treatments for cataracts and most types of eye disease. So if you’re looking for the latest in safe, effective cataract treatment, ask Dr. Feinerman about the new Crystalens premium IOL to give your eyes back a more natural range of vision.