Getting older means changes in your body. Your eyes are no exception.
There are two main changes in your eyes as you age: the loss of flexibility and a change in the chemical composition. When the lens of your eye loses flexibility, it is called Presbyopia. This change can begin to occur after the age of 40 and it reduces your ability to clearly see close up.
The chemical composition change is referred to as Cataracts which happen when the protein in the lens of your eye begins to bunch together. When light passes through this protein bunch, you may notice a yellow haze or tint to images. Cataracts usually become noticeable in our sixties, but eventually everyone will have them and most will require cataract surgery.
There is a solution to both presbyopia and cataracts through the use of a lens implant called an Intraocular Lens (IOL). The lens implant replaces a natural lens, and the implant won't develop cataracts or presbyopia. Laser refractive surgery may be needed to fine tune the result of any Lifestyle Lens. If you have had LASIK prior to cataract surgery, the refractive error should still be good, but thoughtful consideration is necessary to choose the best IOL.
Technological advances have produced a variety of IOLs, which also help to correct refractive error. These IOLs are: monofocal, multifocal, toric, and accommodating.
The most traditional IOL is a Monofocal IOL. Mono means one and focal means focus of the lens of an eye. This means that Monofocal IOLs will only provide vision for one distance. This distance, or power, for the lens is calculated prior to surgery and is usually selected to give you good distance vision. When monofocal IOLs are used, the patient will still require glasses for reading and mid-range vision.
Multifocal IOLs are referred to as Lifestyle IOLs or presbyopia-correcting IOLs because they are designed with multiple focusing properties. This means the lens can focus near, far, and in between, which can reduce or eliminate the need for reading glasses.
Toric IOLs are also considered Lifestyle IOLs, as they were designed for people suffering from astigmatism. These IOLs are perfect for people suffering from cataracts and astigmatism if they do not wish to or are not a good candidate to have LASIK to correct the astigmatism.
Astigmatism is present when a cornea has an oblong shape rather than a round shape. This causes light to focus on multiple points on the retina which results in blurred vision. The Toric IOL is designed to off-set the shape of the cornea so that light focuses on the retina and vision is clear.
The Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery reported in March 2009 that Toric IOLs can correct astigmatism substantially better than other options, and that after three months, 70% of the patients in the study who received Toric IOLs achieved 20/40 vision or better.
Accommodating IOLs are Lifestyle IOLs that are designed to work with the muscles of the eye to focus upon whatever distance is needed. These IOLs provide sharp vision for multiple distances.
The doctors at Eye Clinic of Austin will counsel each patient about their best IOL option according to lifestyle, medical and eye health history, and after performing a comprehensive consultation and exam.