Cataracts can cause a significant decline in quality of life for the people
who suffer from them. Without treatment, the vision loss caused by cataracts
only gets worse. Fortunately, there are intraocular lenses for cataract
surgery patients to help restore the lost vision and improve quality of
life once again.
What causes cataracts? Cataracts occur when the inner lens of the eye –
the crystalline lens – becomes cloudy and inflexible. The crystalline
lens is made up of mostly water and protein; over time those proteins
can clump together, causing the lens to become discolored and blurry.
Sometimes this simply happens with age, while other times it is caused
by eye injuries, certain diseases, or even some medications. Once the
lens is damaged, the only way to restore vision is by removing the natural
lens and replacing it with an artificial one.
Intraocular lenses (IOLs) have evolved over time. Modern IOLs share the
same basic construction as earlier versions; they have a round, corrective
central lens with two arms, or haptics, to keep it in place in the eye.
Most modern IOLs are soft enough to be folded so that they can be placed
into the eye through a very small incision.
There are a variety of IOLs available that offer different outcomes when used.
Monofocal:These lenses provide a set focal point, often for distance vision. About
95 percent of people who receive this type of lens have their vision restored
to its pre-cataract state, but most patients still require glasses.
Multifocal:This is a newer type of lens that is designed to treat multiple focal points
and reduces the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses after cataract surgery.
This is accomplished through the use of highly specialized optics that
divides light and focuses it on more than one point to provide a range
Accommodative:This type of lens is considered monofocal, but it is designed to move in
response to the eye’s own muscle exactly as was done in youth, automatically
allow sight through multiple focal points.
Astigmatism Correcting:There are also lenses available that not only restore the vision that was
lost due to cataracts, but they are also able to correct astigmatism.
If you would like to learn more about IOLs, Key Whitman would be happy
to answer your questions.