A cataract is a clouding of your natural lens, the part of your eye responsible for focusing light and producing clear, sharp images. Within a healthy eye, light passes through the transparent lens and is focused on the retina.
Once it reaches the retina, light is changed into nerve signals that are sent to your brain for you to see. You eye works very similar to a camera. Your natural lens works like a lens in a camera to focus light.
In a camera the light is focused on a film to capture a picture and in your eyes the light is focused by your lens on the retina to capture images.
If the lens of a camera is cloudy the picture that will be taken will be blurry. If you have a cataract the lens in your eye is cloudy and the image focused in your eye will appear blurry.
Looking through a cataract is like trying to see through a frosty or fogged-up window. Initially your vision may be slightly affected. But as your cataract grows, it may become more difficult to read, drive, or see the expression on a friend’s face.
If your cataract results in visual symptoms that affect your daily life style then your cataract may need to be removed. Surgery is the only way a cataract can be removed. Cataract surgery is highly successful and is performed millions of times each year.
With the use of an operating microscope, your surgeon will make a very small incision on the surface of your eye in or near your cornea. A thin ultrasound probe that uses high frequency sound waves is used to fragment the clouded lens.
These tiny fragments pieces are then suctioned out through the same ultrasound probe. Once the cataract is removed, an artificial lens called an intraocular lens or an IOL is placed painlessly into your eyes through the same tiny incision.
The intraocular lens acts similar to your natural lens to help focus light on your retina and is important to help you see well after cataract surgery. Small incision cataract surgery allows for fast recovery of vision and return to daily activity in minimal time.
The natural lens of persons under the age of forty is able to focus from distance objects to near objects by changing its shape. After the age of forty many people experience difficulty in focusing on near objects because their natural lens will harden and will not be able to change its shape to focus.
This process is called Presbyopia. Reading glasses will be necessary to help focus on near objects. Patients that undergo cataract surgery will have their cloudy natural lens replaced with an artificial intraocular lens which will result in improved vision.
However, there are different types of intraocular lenses available. Although, vision will be improved after cataract surgery, the need for glasses after surgery will not be eliminated with conventional Monofocal intraocular lenses.
Monofocal intraocular lenses provide excellent vision after cataract surgery but only at one set distance, usually for seeing distant objects. Objects at near and intermediate will seem blurry without glasses.
Monofocal IOL’s cannot focus on images at different distances like the natural lens of a young person and do not correct for Presbyopia. Therefore, reading and computer glasses will be necessary for focusing on near or immediate objects.
Because of new advancements in intraocular lens technology, no there are different types of intraocular lenses available that may be used to help reduce your dependence on reading glasses after surgery. One such lens called Accomodating intraocular lens.
Accommodating intraocular lenses are a type of intraocular lens that may be placed during cataract surgery in place of a Monofocal intraocular lens. Accommodating IOL’s shift position or change shape with focusing action of eye muscle and allow a range of clear vision usually from distance to intermediate range.
As compared to a conventional IOL they allow better immediate vision without glasses.
These lenses allow you to focus on a greater range of viewing distances and reduces your dependence on glasses especially for intermediate vision needs as compared to conventional intraocular lenses.
Examples of intermediate vision tasks may include working on your computer, cooking, seeing the dashboard of your car, or looking at your alarm clock on the night stand.
Although accommodating intraocular lenses provide a greater range of focus as compared to Monofocal intraocular lenses, Accomodating IOL’s cannot provide the same focusing ability of the natural lens of a young person’s eyes.
Your dependence on glasses for intermediate distance will be reduced but low power reading glasses may be needed for prolonged reading or reading under low light conditions.
Patients who have Accommodating IOL’s in both eyes will experience better focusing ability. It is important to remember that focusing ability of different individuals may vary and the Accommodating IOL’s may have varying results in different individuals.
Although Accommodating intraocular lenses may reduce your dependence on eye glasses, they may not be an option if you have high astigmatism or irregularly shaped cornea, retinal problems such as macular degeneration, optic nerve damage, or high expectation of being completely spectacle free.
Accommodating IOOL’s may offer reduced dependence on eye glasses and may improve quality if life if you are having cataract surgery. Your eye care provider can help determine if Accommodating IOL lenses may be right for you.”
Multiple-focus implants are often prescribed by eye surgeons following a cataract surgery. They can be used to restore one’s ability to focus on objects at multiple distances.
Cataract surgery involves removing a damaged or cloudy lens from the eye. After the surgery, one would normally need to wear special multiple focus glasses in order to be able to see properly again. A multiple focus implant could, for the most part, be a substitute for the need for such glasses.
Westchester Eye Surgeons has performed multiple focus implant surgery for patients after cataract surgery for many 20 years. It is conveniently located for Chicagoland residents in Westchester, IL, a western suburb of Chicago.
Dr. Spero J. Kinnas is a leading eye surgeon in Chicago. The office has helped patients in Chicago and the suburbs for more than 20 years.