Cataracts are a very common result of the natural aging process. As people get older, the tissue in the lens of the eye begins to thicken and become more opaque. This affects the amount of light that passes through the lens, which results in the typical cataract symptoms of having difficulty seeing in low-light conditions, a decrease in the vibrancy of colors and seeing halos form around sources of intense light such as street lights.
Cataract surgery is currently the only form of treatment available for this condition. In this surgery, the lenses in the eye that have thickened due to age are replaced with new, more transparent artificial lenses. The procedure is very quick to perform and is free of complications in the vast majority of cases, and it rapidly alleviates cataract symptoms.
One downside of cataract surgery, however, is that people often need to wear glasses after having the procedure done. The older artificial lens replacements used in these procedures were often designed to solely correct distance vision, as this is usually considered the most important outcome—good distance vision keeps people safe while driving.
Thanks to advancements in artificial lens replacements, however, the need for glasses after cataract surgery can be greatly reduced. One option is to have the procedure performed using accommodating intraocular lenses as the replacement lenses. These work naturally with your eye muscles in order to provide good vision at both far and medium distances. If you need cataract surgery and want the best vision possible after the procedure, read on to find out more about accommodating intraocular lenses.
How Does an Accommodating Intraocular Lens Work?
An accommodating intraocular lens works with your eye's natural ability to change focus. When you're trying to focus on something in the distance, the muscles in your eye naturally pull your lens back and cause it to flatten. The thinner lens provides for better distance focus. When focusing on something up close, the muscles in your eye push your lens slightly forward in order to thicken the lens and provide better near vision.
This process works naturally, but it becomes much less effective with age. As the lenses in the eye begin to thicken and develop into cataracts, they're much heavier and no longer as pliable. The muscles in the eye struggle to adjust the position of the lens in order to focus on objects.
How Is an Accommodating Intraocular Lens Different From Older Lenses Used in Cataract Surgery?
The traditional monofocal intraocular lenses used in cataract surgery also inhibit the natural process described above. These lenses are attached firmly to the lens capsule, and are not capable of being moved by the muscles in your eye.
Accommodating intraocular lenses, on the other hand, are attached to the lens capsule using pliable haptics. The pliability of the attachment site allows your eye muscles to shift the position of the artificial lens slightly in your eye as if it were a natural lens, which improves your ability to focus.
How Can Accommodating Intraocular Lenses Improve Vision?
Due to the way that accommodating intraocular lenses cooperate with the way your eye naturally works, they can be designed with this fact in mind. A slightly thicker replacement lens can be used during the surgery in order to improve medium vision. This doesn't prevent the replacement lens from offering good distance vision, as your eye muscles can simply pull the lens back in order to make it thinner when distance vision is required. Because of this, it's possible for an accommodating intraocular lens to offer much better vision compared to earlier lens replacement options.
If you're interested in removing your cataracts with the best vision possible after the result, find a ophthalmologist in your area that provides cataract surgery services using this new technology. During your consultation, you and your ophthalmologist will discuss your options and determine the type of replacement lens that best suits your vision needs.