Lens Implants

The Advantage of Intraocular Lenses

With the advent of exciting, new technology, there are now several lens implant choices available for people with cataracts.

The intraocular lens implants replace the eye’s natural lens, and reduce a person’s dependency on eyeglasses and contact lens for near and far distances. In the past, the majority of lens implants could only focus light at one focal point – meaning a person’s vision could be set for far or near, but not both.

From age 45 and beyond, we lose the ability to focus at near distances without the aid of bifocals, trifocals, or reading glasses. This is known as presbyopia, this natural aging process of the eye causing the lens of the eye to become rigid. This in turn prevents a person from being able to clearly transition from distance to near vision.

New Technological Advances

Cataract surgery can now restore vision and improve your quality of life with the use of an intraocular lens (IOL). The IOL implant is a tiny, lightweight, clear plastic disc that is placed in the eye during cataract surgery to replace the eye’s natural lens.

An IOL replaces the focusing power of the eye’s natural lens more closely than either contact lenses or glasses. Unlike contact lenses, an IOL implant is permanent.

There are four main types of IOLs and each delivers a different performance result:

  • Standard monofocal IOL – a fixed lens that is designed to deliver improved vision at just one distance, usually far.
  • Multifocal IOL (TECHNIS™, IQ Restor®) – lenses that use multiple visual zones to provide vision at varying distances, including near, intermediate, and far. And in some cases, offering high-quality vision in all distances and in any light condition -- even in low light.
  • Accommodating IOL (Crystalens HD®)– a lens that delivers a continuous range of vision – near, intermediate, and far.
  • Toric IOL - a lens designed to treat astigmatism, as well as deliver improved vision at just one distance, usually far.

These implants are quite safe and complications from the implantation are few. An IOL implant cannot improve vision lost from causes other than cataracts, such as retinal disease or glaucoma.

For those patients who want spectacle independence and would like to be LESS RELIANT on bifocals and trifocals, these lens implants are a great option. A complete eye exam can determine if a patient is a candidate for this type of lens and it also helps in selecting the most beneficial lens for an individual.

Some people have excellent vision after a corneal transplant. MOST patients do have astigmatism and a refractive error such as nearsightedness (myopia) or farsightedness (hyperopia) after the cornea transplant. MOST will require glasses or contact lens to see well at all distances.

Corneal transplantation has restored sight to many who, a generation ago, were blinded permanently by corneal injury, infection, or inherited corneal disease or degeneration.

Changes in the Eyes

Cataracts can result from the normal aging processand may develop due to certain diseases, trauma, medications, or a long-standing exposure to the sun. A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s naturally clear lens. Cataract removal is one of the most common surgeries done in the United States and around the world.

In a healthy eye, the clear natural lens focuses light on the retina, which subsequently sends a signal to the brain to produce the sharp image that we see. With the onset of cataracts, the lens becomes cloudy and light can no longer focus as sharply. Once the cataract or cloudy lens is removed, a lens implant is placed in the eye to help focus light on the retina.

Symptoms of cataracts include blurred vision, glare, and haloes around light. Color vision can also be affected. When a cataract begins to interrupt your daily activities and ability to function, it is ready to be removed.

For more information implantable lens procedures in St. Louis through Washington University Physicians or to make an appointment, please call 314-996-3300.

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