Freedom From Eyeglasses
For patients that are interested in being more independent from eyeglasses, there are a couple of very good options available now. There are new lens implants available now that will correct for both distance vision and reading vision decreasing the need for glasses altogether after surgery. There are essentially two options of types of lenses to help achieve this.
The main purpose of cataract surgery is to replace a cloudy lens with a clear lens enabling the patient to allow more light to enter the eye. We use complex formulas and measurements of your eye to find the best power lens for you but the goal is to get the cataract out so you can see better. The standard lens implant is a single focus lens. Each lens has a specific power. People that are near-sighted need a lower power and people that are far-sighted need a higher power. These lenses are good options but they do not correct for near vision or astigmatism so glasses are usually needed after surgery either all the time or part of the time.
The other option is an accommodating lens. This lens actually flexes and moves as your eye flexes to focus on near objects. The slight movement of the lens when this happens gives the eye more power for reading. There are no rings like the multifocal lens. The reading power tends not to be as strong in these lenses but does allow for more near vision than with a standard lens.
The lens that I have found to produce the best combination of both good reading vision and distance vision is the multifocal lens. These lenses are designed with different rings that look somewhat similar to the rings of a tree. Some of the rings are made for distance vision and some are for near vision. So you will use the distance portion for looking far off and the near portion during reading and near tasks. Your brain adapts and will use the power needed for the distance you are focusing on. This is called neuroadaptation. There is a very high success rate with these lenses and most of the people that choose it are very happy with their freedom from glasses. Often times a person that has worn glasses their whole life gets the multifocal implants and they say it takes them a while getting used to not taking their glasses off in the evening.
There is no lens that will make you 15 again but this is the closest thing technology has to offer to get you there. You must be examined to be sure you are a good candidate for the lens as all people are not. In the first few weeks, some people will notice haloes around lights mainly at night from the rings during the neuroadaptation process. Very few notice these symptoms in the long term. Some people still need to wear glasses mostly for specific things like reading in dim light or driving at night.
For people that have astigmatism, there is a way to help decrease it with a special type of intraocular lens. The toric lens is designed to correct for astigmatism. There is more power in one axis of the lens than the axis 90 degrees away. Orienting the lens properly in the eye can help counteract astigmatism caused by an oblong cornea. This is a great option for people that have required glasses for their astigmatism that would like to be more independent of glasses in distance or near. With the toric lens, you will still need glasses for reading but most people no longer need glasses for distance. This freedom is a great option for those with astigmatism.
For those with lower amounts of astigmatism, we can use small incisions in the peripheral part of the cornea to help make their corneal more rounded and less oblong to decrease their astigmatism