A cataract is the clouding of the eye's natural lens. There are several believed causes of cataracts, including diabetes and smoking, but most cataracts are related to aging. In fact, by the time they reach 80 years old, more than half of all Americans will either have a cataract or will have had cataract eye surgery.
To correct vision impairment, the clouded lens is replaced by an intraocular lens (IOL) during cataract eye surgery. STAAR® Surgical Company offers several cataract lens replacement options. It is important to complete a comparison of IOL (intraocular lens) choices and to discuss your findings with an ophthalmologist after a thorough eye exam.
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When considering cataract eye surgery and the lens replacement options available, it is helpful to have an understanding of cataracts and the cataract eye surgery procedure. Below is some useful information on the eye condition and its corrective surgery.
The eye's natural crystalline lens is the clear part of the eye that helps focus incoming light rays on the retina to form an image, which is then transmitted to the brain. The crystalline lens is made primarily of water and protein, allowing the structure to change shape to focus on near and distant objects.
A cataract is a painless clouding of the eye's lens. Since a cataract affects the clarity of the lens, it prohibits the light from passing through the lens easily. This causes the retina to receive blurred or distorted images. Because the brain cannot receive clear images of objects, vision gradually becomes impaired. As a cataract progresses, the possibility of cataract eye surgery should be strongly considered, as a cataract, if left untreated, could lead to blindness. In fact, cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 55.
Although the most common cause of cataracts stems from the aging process, others may develop a cataract and need eye surgery. People at risk for cataracts include adults over 55, people with diabetes, anyone who has suffered an eye injury, people with a family history of cataracts, smokers, heavy drinkers, and steroid users. Those at risk should see their eye doctor to discuss the possible need for cataract eye surgery if they develop any of the following symptoms:
The above symptoms may indicate a need for cataract eye surgery or they may signal other serious vision problems. If you suffer from any of the symptoms, you should contact your ophthalmologist.
Cataracts usually mature over time in density and color. You need to continue to visit your eye doctor regularly to monitor the cataract's progression. In addition to the eye examinations, be sure to inform your doctor if your vision becomes impaired to the point where it is dangerous to drive or everyday tasks are difficult to accomplish.
With the advances in cataract eye surgery, patients no longer have to wait until a cataract "ripens" or accelerates to a certain point before it can be removed. Cloudy and blurred vision can now be corrected at an earlier stage without repercussions.
Modern cataract eye surgery has a high success rate. In most instances of cataract eye surgery, patients with otherwise healthy eyes have improved vision after the lens replacement procedure.
Many patients' vision improves so dramatically after cataract eye surgery that they are able to pass the vision test to get a driver's license. After the removal of a cataract, patients tend to have a decreased dependence on corrective eyewear and are able once again to see colors vividly.
Throughout the United States and around the world, more than 1.4 million people have cataract eye surgery each year, and a high percentage of those treated regain useful vision.
The most common type of cataract eye surgery performed in the U.S. today is an outpatient procedure using a process called phacoemulsification. During this surgery, the surgeon makes a tiny incision and uses high-speed ultrasound waves to break the cataract into tiny pieces that are then removed.
The surgeon will then replace the lens with a clear intraocular lens (IOL) implant. IOLs are designed to perform most of the functions of the natural lens. They are made of special materials that require no care and will not be rejected by the eye. Cataract lens replacement options vary in material type and strength, as do glasses or contact lenses, and are selected to improve the eye's focusing ability.
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Knowing that patients' eyes and needs vary, STAAR Surgical Company offers several cataract lens replacement options. It is important to meet with your ophthalmologist to conduct a full comparison of IOL choices to find an intraocular lens that meets your needs.
To give you a starting point in your cataract lens replacement options discussion, STAAR Surgical Company has provided the general information below to begin your comparison of IOL (intraocular lens) products for cataract eye surgery.
The STAAR Elastimide® Lens (3-piece silicone IOL) and the STAAR Elastic Lens® (single piece silicone IOL) are available in various diopter powers in the United States and abroad. STAAR Surgical Company was the first company to receive pre-market approval for a foldable single piece silicone IOL. The lens's ability to be folded allows for a small "no stitch" incision during cataract eye surgery, resulting in a quicker recovery time.
The STAAR Elastimide Silicone Aspheric IOL is available for use in cataract surgery only in the U.S. Market.
The Elastimide Silicone Aspheric IOL is available for use in cataract surgery only in the U.S. Market. This STAAR Aspheric IOL is designed to provide sharp image quality and increased functional vision. The Elastimide Silicone Aspheric IOL combines an advanced foldable lens technology with silicone lens material.
The nanoFLEX™ Collamer Aspheric Single-Piece IOL is available for use in cataract surgery only in the U.S. Market. This STAAR Aspheric IOL is designed to provide sharp image quality and increased functional vision with the reduction of spherical aberration and the improvement of contrast sensitivity. nanoFLEX™ combines an extremely hydrophilic, advanced foldable lens technology with the unique, highly biocompatible Collamer lens material.
The Afinity Collamer Aspheric IOL is available for use in cataract surgery only in the U.S. Market. This STAAR Aspheric IOL is designed to provide sharp image quality and increased functional vision. The Afinity Collamer Aspheric IOL combines an advanced foldable lens technology with the unique Collamer lens material.
The single-piece STAAR Toric IOL is available in markets throughout the world, including the United States. FDA-approved in 1998, the STAAR Toric intraocular lens was the first toric IOL approved for use in the United States. More recently, the STAAR Toric IOL received CMS approval in 2007. An important addition to the cataract lens replacement options, the STAAR Toric IOL is used to treat astigmatism in cataract patients.
Currently the Preloaded IOL Injection System is available in numerous countries, but has not yet been approved for use in the United States. The preloaded IOL injection systems are single-use, disposable pre-sterilized units. In comparison with other IOL options, the preloaded lens system offers unmatched safety and convenience.
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It is important to schedule an eye exam with an ophthalmologist if you believe your sight is being affected by cataracts or another vision problem. When you have your initial vision screening, you can discuss the lens replacement options for your cataract eye surgery.
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