“I’m so pleased to introduce you to our SmartLens® cataract surgery services. A SmartLens® implanted in your eye during your cataract procedure may enable you to see clearly without glasses at distance, intermediate, near and everything in between.” Imagine your new found freedom in the possibility of being freed from dependence on glasses! But first, a discussion about the problem – cataracts and presbyopia…
How Cataracts Develop
A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens inside your eye. This lens, located behind the iris (or colored part of the eye) works just like the lens of a camera-focusing light images on the retina, which sends the images to your brain.
The human lens, made mostly of protein and water, can become clouded – so clouded it keeps light and images from reaching the retina. This can happen from injury, certain diseases, or even some medications can cause the clouding. But, in over 90% of cases, clouding is caused simply by the aging process. A cataract is not a “film” over the eye, and neither diet nor lasers will make it go away. The way to treat a cataract is to remove the old, clouded lens and replace it with an intraocular lens implant.
A cataract can be the reason sharp images become blurred, bright colors become dull, or seeing at night is more difficult. It may also be why the reading glasses or bifocals that used to help you read, or do other simple tasks, no longer seem to help. Unfortunately, cataracts can’t be prevented, but removing the cataract and replacing it with an artificial lens can restore your vision, and in many ways significantly improved your quality of life. The time to have your cataracts removed is when the quality of your vision begins to put limits on your activities and enjoyment of life.
The eye surgeons at Eye Health have implanted the “fixed focus” intraocular lens for many years, enabling thousands of our patients to see clearly after their cataracts have been removed. The “fixed focus” feature often allows you to see clearly without glasses at distance,g however, you may need glasses for near vision, intermediate vision, or, in some instances, both.
What is Presbyopia?
When your eyes were young, your natural lens was both transparent and flexible. Because of this, your vision was most likely stable until you reached your forties. Around that time, you may have noticed that you had to hold a menu or a book farther away to read it. Many people end up wearing a pair of reading glasses or bifocals to compensate for this aging of the eye. This condition is called “presbyopia” and eventually affects everyone, including those who are nearsighted, farsighted, have cataracts or had perfect vision most of their life.
The intraocular lens solution (The “IOL”)
Intraocular lenses (IOL’s) were first introduced in 1949 and are available today in all kinds of shapes, sizes and lens materials. In fact, over 14 million cataract and lens implant procedures are performed each year throughout the world.
Until recently, the intraocular lens implants available were “fixed focus” intraocular lenses meaning that after cataract surgery, many patients could see clearly at distance without glasses but needed glasses for near vision, intermediate vision or, in some instances, both.
However, the creation of multi-focal intraocular lenses and accommodating intraocular lenses…the ones used in our SmartLens® Procedure, has opened up the possibility for you to see clearly without glasses, up close, far away and in-between! In other words, removal of your cataract and its replacement with a multi-focal intraocular lens can, at once, restore your vision and eliminate your presbyopia, enabling you to see clearly at all ranges of vision.
Your near and intermediate vision result from the action of a focusing muscle in the eye called the ciliary muscle. When this muscle moves it changes the power of your natural lens and thus, its focus; for example, from near to far. We call this focusing process, “accommodation”. Our SmartLens® procedure whereby a multi-focal or accommodating intraocular lens is implanted and designed to mimic the eye’s natural process of “accommodation” potentially enables you to see at distance, intermediate, near, and everything in between without glasses.
The Safest And Most Successful Surgery Performed Today
Cataract surgery is performed on an outpatient basis and usually requires just a few hours of your time from start to finish. Your eye will be treated with anesthetic prior to the cataract procedure, so you’ll feel little, if any, discomfort. First, a tiny incision will be made in the eye allowing your surgeon to use a small instrument (about the size of a pen tip) to break up or wash away the cloudy cataract. Once the cataract is removed, the SmartLens® IOL will be inserted through the same tiny incision and set into its permanent position.
In addition to our Smart Lens procedure, some of our patients are candidates for our Bladeless, Computer-Controlled Laser Cataract Surgery. For these patients there are three potential benefits of the procedure. First, the Laser provides a more precisely circular incision around the cataract, which can improve the accuracy of placement of the intraocular lens implant.
Second, the Laser pre-softens the cataract there by minimizing the use of ultrasound energy to remove the cataract lens. The reduced ultrasound energy reduces the chance of thermal injury to tissues inside the eye during the procedure.
Third, astigmatism correction can be done during cataract surgery with the Laser rather than by manual correction.
What to Expect After the Procedure
After the cataract surgery procedure, you’ll rest for a short period before you go home. Your Eye Health doctor will typically examine your eye within 24 hours. You’ll need to use prescription eye drops to guard against infection and help your eye heal. Everyone heals somewhat differently, but most patients see well enough to return to most of their routine actives the day after surgery. Once both eyes have been treated, you will fully appreciate the SmartLens® IOL and realize that your cataract was one thing you could definitely live without.
As with any surgical procedure there are inherent risks and your results cannot be guaranteed. Your Eye Health doctor will provide you with more detailed information about the potential risks and benefits to help you decide whether cataract surgery is right for you.
To see if an Eye Health SmartLens® Procedure is right for you, call us at (239)466-2020 to schedule an appointment.