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Vital Signs

 
Summer 2009

Improved Lenses may Eliminate Need for Glasses

Cataract removal is a safe and effective surgery, but many patients still depend on glasses afterward for reading. Recent advances in artificial intraocular lens (IOL) designs, however, may reduce or eliminate the need for glasses following surgery.

“The newer premium lenses enhance the optics of the eyes and make people less dependent on glasses,” explains ophthalmologist Kevin Miller, M.D., one of the several physicians with the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA who provide the new lenses.

Premium IOLs are designed to correct either astigmatism or presbyopia. Astigmatismcorrecting lenses adjust for blurred vision resulting from an irregular-shaped cornea. Presbyopia-correcting lenses adjust for the inability of the eye to change focus. The decision to place a premium IOL, as opposed to a standard lens, is dictated by patient preference and preoperative clinical findings.

“The nature and scope of visual impairment before surgery is a good indicator as to the extent to which the lens will improve the quality of vision,” Dr. Miller says. “For example, with the astigmatism-correcting lens, patients must have enough astigmatism to justify placing it. For the presbyopiacorrecting lens, patients must have decent visual potential.”

Currently, less than 10 percent of cataract surgery patients receive premium IOLs, but Dr. Miller expects that number to increase as the potential benefits become more widely known. “While perfect vision is hard to achieve, the goal is to help patients see without glasses after surgery,” Dr. Miller says.

For a video about the new lenses, go to:

http://streaming.uclahealth.org/focal-lens   

For more information about cataracts and premium IOLs, go to:

http://jsei.org/cataract_extraction.htm





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