As eyes age, vision problems seem almost inevitable for most people. Cataracts and presbyopia are common issues that affect many people over the age of 40. Each year, more than 2.5 million people under go corrective surgery for cataracts. In fact, by the age of 80, estimates indicate that more than half of all Americans will either have cataracts or have had surgery to correct cataracts.
Presbyopia affects nearly everyone at some point in later life. This condition, literally translated as “old eyes,” is simply the natural aging process of the eyes. When you’re young, the crystalline lens of your eye is soft and flexible. As you age, the lens becomes harder and less bendable. Typically, presbyopia exhibits as a loss of the ability for the eye to focus on objects up close. This is because the lens isn’t able to bend light properly to reflect clear images for reading and near. This means that you might find yourself holding a paper out at arm’s length in front of you to read it clearly. This is completely normal with age, particularly after the age of 40. The usual remedy for this condition is reading glasses, bifocals or trifocals.
Combining Cataract Surgery and Presbyopia
Since presbyopia affects basically everyone at some point and cataracts are increasingly common as well, medical technology to treat both conditions has rapidly advanced in recent years. During cataract surgery, a surgeon will implant a lens called an intraocular lens, or IOL, to replace the cloudy lens that is removed. This is a permanent solution and is an effective cure for cataracts.
In order to realize the benefits of the new technology, you need to understand how the young human lens functions. This lens has the ability to change its shape in order to focus from distance to near. This precious, dynamic ability of the young human lens allows us to stay clear of reading glasses or bifocals until at least 40 years of age. Somewhere between 40 and 50 years of age our lens loses its flexibility and we slowly lose our near vision. Then we become dependent on reading glasses or bifocals.
The new Presbyopic or “young” lens technology not only solves the issue of cataracts but also mimics the function of the young human lens and allows the patient to see both near and distance without glasses.
This sort of freedom makes multifocal lenses very popular among cataract patients.
Keep in mind that premium multifocal IOLs are usually not covered by health insurance plans. At the 5th Avenue Eye Center in New York, we will work with you to create a vision plan that is both economical and effective. We’ve worked with countless patients around the New York area to create better vision with both cataract surgery and LASIK procedures. Contact us today to set up a consultation for cataract surgery.