Questions about Crystalens IOLs
Nearsighted & Farsighted Surgery
The following information answers questions that we frequently hear from our patients about Crystalens IOLs however, some of these questions also apply to Cataract Surgery and other intraocular lenses (IOLs) including Tecnis. For more information, please contact us.
- What does IOL mean?
- What are IOLs?
- What are cataracts?
- How is Crystalens different?
- What is Presbyopia?
- What can Crystalens do that LASIK cannot?
- How do I know if I need Crystalens?
- How do I know if I have cataracts?
- Are there different kinds of cataracts?
- What causes cataracts?
- Do only older people get cataracts?
- Is cataract surgery or the Crystalens procedure dangerous to your eyes?
- Is cataract surgery done with a laser?
- How much time must go by before the second eye is treated?
- I wear contact lenses. Can I wear them to your office for cataract surgery?
What does IOL mean?
IOL stands for Intraocular lens.
What are IOLs?
Intraocular lenses are artificial lenses created to replace clouded natural lenses, caused by cataracts. In addition, IOL’s can be implanted “electively”. This means patients who want to reduce or eliminate their need for glasses, who may not have visually significant cataracts, can also have the procedure. The cost of procedure would be paid for without the assistance of their insurance company.
What are cataracts?
Cataracts are opacities that form in the eye’s crystalline lens and are caused by a breakdown of tissue and accumulation of proteins that make up the lens. Over time, cataracts cloud the lens and do not allow light to reach the retina, producing blurred vision.
How is Crystalens different?
Crystalens is a special intraocular lens that was specially created to correct presbyopia, an age-related condition that typically occurs between the ages of 40 and 50, that keeps the eye from focusing at all distances. Crystalens can be implanted in patients over 50 years old with or without cataracts. Crystalens is the only FDA approved accommodating lens for cataracts and/or patients with multiple visual deficiencies.
What is Presbyopia?
Presbyopia is an age-related condition that generally happens between the ages of 40 and 50. The condition prevents the eye from focusing at all distances and causes blurry vision, especially close-up. Often, the first sign is difficulty reading fine print at a close distance, but being able to read fine print better when held further away.
What can Crystalens do that LASIK cannot?
Although LASIK can satisfy the need for distance vision glasses, patients over 45 still require reading glasses for intermediate (computer distance) and near vision, caused by presbyopia. With Crystalens, presbyopia can be corrected for patients who desire good uncorrected vision at all ranges.
How do I know if I need Crystalens?
Only your eye doctor or eye surgeon can tell you for sure. However, if you have presbyopia, are over 50 years of age, or have cataracts, Crystalens nearsighted and farsighted surgery may be a good option for you.
How do I know if I have cataracts?
At first, it’s hard to tell. You’ll notice some deterioration of your vision, such as more sensitivity to lights at night, colors look less vivid and bright, double vision, or some blurriness. Initially, a new glasses or contact lens prescription might help, but at some point, cataract surgery may become necessary. If cataracts develop in both eyes, each eye can be treated separately, so you retain your vision and functionality in between surgery dates.
Are there different kinds of cataracts?
Yes. Cataract types include:
- Cataracts that affect the center of the lens (nuclear cataracts). A nuclear cataract may at first cause you to become more nearsighted or even experience a temporary improvement in your reading vision. But with time, the lens gradually turns more densely yellow and further clouds your vision.
As the cataract slowly progresses, the lens may even turn brown. Advanced yellowing or browning of the lens can lead to difficulty distinguishing between shades of color.
- Cataracts that affect the edges of the lens (cortical cataracts). A cortical cataract begins as whitish, wedge-shaped opacities or streaks on the outer edge of the lens cortex.
As it slowly progresses, the streaks extend to the center and interfere with light passing through the center of the lens. People with cortical cataracts often experience problems with glare.
- Cataracts that affect the back of the lens (posterior subcapsular cataracts). A posterior subcapsular cataract starts as a small, opaque area that usually forms near the back of the lens, right in the path of light on its way to the retina.
What causes cataracts?
The cause isn’t clear, however, studies have been done that suggest some risk factors include:
- Prolonged use of steroids
- Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light (sunlight)
- Exposure to cosmic radiation
- Over-consumption of alcohol
- Prolonged exposure to air pollution
- Exposure to lead
Do only older people get cataracts?
No. Advancing age is certainly a predisposing factor, and by the age of 75 or so, nearly everyone is said to have at least the beginning of a cataract. However, some babies are born with congenital cataracts, some apparently inherited, and others, are the result of the mother having an infectious disease while pregnant, such as chickenpox or German measles. Young healthy patients can also develop cataracts as stated above.
Is cataract surgery or the Crystalens procedure dangerous to your eyes?
All surgery carries some risk, and cataract surgery is no exception. However, cataract surgery is the most commonly performed procedure in the U.S., and if you choose an experienced eye surgeon, risk is minimal.
Is cataract surgery done with a laser?
Most commonly the lens is removed with ultrasound rather than a laser to break up the lens with the cataract before removing it. Also, after some surgeries, the pocket, or membrane that encases the eye’s lens becomes cloudy after the lens is removed. In these cases, a laser can be used to make a clear opening in that membrane, so that vision isn’t impeded.
How much time must go by before the second eye is treated?
The second surgery can be performed one day after the first surgery, but we prefer to wait at least a week to ensure the first operative eye is healing well.
I wear contact lenses. Can I wear them to your office for cataract surgery?
No. We will be taking a number of measurements of your eyes. These measurements enable us to measure the thickness and curvature of your eye. It is important that candidates do not wear the following prior to the diagnostic evaluation and surgery:
- soft contact lenses – remain out for 5 days;
- toric (for astigmatism) lenses – remain out for 2 weeks; or
- hard contact lenses – remain out for 8 weeks.