I have early cataracts and I would like to get rid of my glasses, what about lens implants?
Spectacles are usually prescribed to correct a refractive error, this includes myopia (short sight), hypermetropia (long sight), astigmatism or presbyopia. In young patients with no other ocular findings, this is a relatively simple matter using either spectacles or contact lenses. Lasers can of course, correct all the above forms of refractive errors, and for laser refractive surgery, you would need to see a refractive surgeon! Presbyopia however, is the loss of accommodation of the natural lens, this is when the patient finds that his/her arms are not long enough to read the paper. This usually starts in the 40’s, but those with myopia are already focused for near, so they are able to read for near without spectacles and those with hypermetropia will need reading spectacles much at an earlier age than myopes.
For patients who have reduced vision due to cataract in addition to wearing spectacles, it is possible to remove the cataract and correct the refractive error by way of microincision phaco cataract surgery with lens implantation. In order to achieve spectacle independence, one would therefore choose the appropriate lens implant in addition to correcting astigmatism. Astigmatism correction is achieved by using a “toric” lens implant that would need to be positioned in the eye in a particular position in order to correct the astigmatism.
The “monofocal” lens implant, also referred to as a standard lens implant, corrects the vision but delivers high contrast images over a limited range of focus, so if the lens power chosen is aimed for distance vision, there will be limited near vision and reading spectacles would be needed, just like you would in presbyopia. If the lens power chosen is aimed for near vision, the opposite would happen and spectacle correction would be needed for distance vision. A “toric” lens implant is used to correct astigmatism.
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