'There are no alternatives to surgery, but there are new advances to the restoration process. We have lenses that will allow you to see at a distance as well as read without glasses. There are lenses that can correct astigmatisms. The options have become much-improved in the past couple of years,' said Dr. Calvin Roberts.
He said that the intraocular lenses that remained in use for many years to replace the body's crystalline lenses clouded by cataracts were made of a harder, more rigid plastic.
While they were designed to give patients renewed clarity in their distance vision, the understanding was that patients would simply need reading glasses, he added.
'When you had to put in a plastic lens, your eye became a single-focus system. The new lenses have become multi-focused,' said Dr. Roberts.
He said that the newer lenses, which debuted in 2003, could respond to the six muscles in the eye that control movement, which is why they have the ability to respond when a muscle moves up to focus on something close.
Dr. Roberts believes that some new multi-focal lenses can be implanted to compensate for the ciliary muscle, which controls the shape of the lens to allow for changes in light distribution.
He says that new intraocular lenses are made of acrylic or silicone, and are therefore more flexible than their predecessors. Furthermore, such lenses can be folded when they are surgically implanted, and thus provide for a smaller and faster-healing incision for the patient, he adds.
The researcher further pointed out that just as newer contact lenses could correct astigmatisms, so too could the artificial lenses implanted during cataract surgery.