By Dr. Pooja Khator
Pooja Khator, MD, a glaucoma specialist and cataract surgeon, is certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. She joined Coastal Eye Institute in 2006.
Cataracts, or clouding of the lens of the eyes, are common as we age. Fortunately, cataract surgery is quite effective and, in fact, one of the most common surgeries performed in the United States. lenses
When ophthalmologists perform cataract surgery, they remove the eye’s old lens and replace it with an intraocular lens (IOL). Originally, a standard intraocular lens, which can certainly help patients see better but cannot correct astigmatism or presbyopia (the ability to see close up), was the only option for such a replacement. Advances in lens technology, however, have expanded our arsenal, and we now have lens options to help improve astigmatism and reading vision after surgery.
Advanced options in lenses
Astigmatism is a common vision condition that happens when a person’s cornea is not symmetrical. A normal cornea is round like a baseball. With astigmatism, the cornea curves more like a football. With the toric intraocular lens, regular astigmatism can be corrected, allowing for crisp distance vision without glasses.
Another premium lens option is the multifocal intraocular lens. By separating the light entering the eye into zones for distance and for near vision, it can allow correction for driving and for reading at the same time. Many multifocal lenses come in several reading powers, allowing surgeons the ability to tailor the lens to fit specific visual needs. Not all patients are good candidates for this type of lens, however, and a full eye examination to exclude the presence of glaucoma or macular degeneration is necessary.
The latest arrival to eye surgery is the Technis Symfony lens. The Symfony allows correction for distance and intermediate vision. These days, much of our world is in the intermediate range of vision. If you are over the age of 40, chances are you have experienced loss of intermediate vision, making you wish you had longer arms to read your phone screen, the labels of cans on a shelf, or a recipe in a cookbook. The Symfony lens is potentially an excellent choice for those who do a lot of computer work or spend a lot of time reading on smaller devices, such as an iPad. Furthermore, the Symfony lens comes in options that correct astigmatism at the same time, as well as being a good choice for patients with mild glaucoma and macular degeneration who may not be good candidates for a multifocal lens.
How do I choose?
Your ophthalmologist can conduct certain tests to make sure you are a good candidate for a premium intraocular lens and help educate you about the benefits of these lenses following cataract surgery. These lenses take some time to get used to, so it is important to understand exactly how they work and their limitations. Although a premium intraocular lens can reduce your dependence on eyeglasses, it does not completely eliminate the need for glasses in all situations.