Do the words on this page look cloudy or fuzzy? Are you 40 years of age or older? If so, you may be among the 22 million Americans suffering from cataracts.
What sounded like science fiction in eye carejust a few decades ago - replacing an eye lens with an artificial one - is now one of the most common surgeries in the world. More than 8,000 of these procedures are performed daily across the globe, according to Crystalens® creators, Baush+Lomb. At Monterey County Eye Associates, a renowned eye care practice, we use the Crystalens® IOL for patients suffering from cataracts.
What Is the Cataract and Eye Connection?
Let’s begin with the eye lens, positioned behind the colored part of the eye (iris), where cataracts form. As light hits the eye, the lens focuses images into clear, sharp pictures on the retina, or the light-sensitive membrane on the back wall of the eyeball.
Cataracts work against this process, scattering light as it passes through the lens, thwarting an eye’s attempt to create a focused image, and thus resulting in blurred vision.
Like with many health-related issues, the potential for developing cataracts increases with age.
When an eye lens ages, it loses flexibility, becomes more opaque, and thickens. Cataracts form when, during the lens breakdown, parts clump together. As the cataract matures, it becomes denser and vision grows blurrier. Patients eventually require cataract surgery to prevent the loss of vision. Normally, cataracts develop in both eyes but can occur in only one.
The Crystalens® Difference
Modeled after the human eye, Crystalens®, an artificial lens implant, allows the eye muscles to flex, so eyes regain the ability to focus on objects at various distances. The safe and tested surgery typically begins with eye-numbing drops. Then, Dr. Eric Del Piero or Dr. Leland Rosenblum make a micro-incision at the edge of the cornea. After washing away the natural lens, the doctor replaces it with the Crystalens® implant.
Most patients return the day after surgery for an evaluation, and many report short recovery times.
Cataract types include:
- Nuclear - A very common type of cataract that results in the hardening and yellowing of the center of the lens.
- Cortical - In this instance, the lens edge develops impairment, causing the patient to notice streaks or wedge-shaped flashes on the outer lens cortex. Glare is often an issue, as well.
- Posterior sub capsular - This type of cataract begins as an opaque area near the back of the lens that obstructs the light directly before the retina. Reading may be an issue, especially in bright light.
- Congenital - Some people are simply born with cataracts, possibly because the mother contracted an infection during pregnancy.
Behavioral, Genetic, and Other Risk Factors
Some factors that increase risk of cataracts include:
- Age, with Caucasian women having some of the highest incident rates
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Family history
- Excessive exposure to sunlight
- High blood pressure
- Exposure to radiation, such as during cancer therapy
- Eye surgery
Schedule Your Consultation
To learn more about Crystalens® and how the implant improves vision by treating cataracts, schedule an appointment with Monterey County Eye Associates.