In a healthy, young eye, there is a clear lens through which light passes and allows us to see. As a result of aging and occasionally other factors, the lens develops cloudy tissue known as a cataract. The cataract causes the lens to lose transparency, preventing light from entering the eye and ultimately passing through to the retina. This progressive clouding is the primary cause of adult vision loss. Adults suffering from the onset of cataract-induced vision loss often complain of gradual blurred or dimmed vision, sensitivity to glare and light or a feeling of "film" over the eye.
Cataracts are a very common condition, affecting over 20 million Americans. Most cataracts are simply a result of aging and are primarily found in people over the age of 55. However, other factors such as family history, smoking, eye injury, disease and use of certain medicines can also impact cataract development.
Treatment is available for patients who develop cataracts in the form of a lens replacement surgery. There are several types of lens replacement surgeries.
The most common surgical procedure for cataracts currently used in America is intraocular lens (IOL) replacement.
In this procedure, we use a minimally invasive method called phacoemulsification (“phaco”). Over the past 17 years of his practice Dr. Griener has performed thousands of these procedures constantly improving and perfecting the technique. During surgery, the eye is numbed with anesthesia before a tiny incision is made. An unltrasonic probe slips into the incision and breaks up (emulsifies) the cloudy lens, which is then suctioned out of the eye through the probe. After the cloudy lens has been removed, an artificial lens is implanted into the eye. Because the incision is so tiny, there may not be need for a stitch. Generally this is an out-patient procedure.
Traditionally, these lenses do not allow the eye to focus at varied distances. In other words, these monofocal lenses can provide clear vision for distance or near, but not for both. These lenses are primarily implanted to correct for distance vision. Ideally, the monofocal lens precludes the need for distance-vision spectacles. In this situation, you would likely need glasses only for near-vision work and occasionally to correct for astigmatism (a common, irregular curvature of the eye).
Multifocal Lens Replacement
Exciting advances in lens replacement technology have resulted in the availability of multifocal lenses. Dr. Griener was one of the first in this region to begin placing multifocal lenses. Although the surgical procedure is similar to a routine IOL replacement procedure (see above), the artificial lens provides for a greater range of functional vision. This new lens affords the eye the ability to focus at multiple ranges, further reducing a patient’s need for spectacles.
Toric lenses have provided Dr. Griener with the opportunity to correct for astigmatism using these newer premium implants. Over the past 7 years he has placed hundreds of these lenses in patients simultaneously correcting for astigmatism while removing cataract.