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Cataract surgery is taking another step forward with a new type of lens implant that corrects for distance, intermediate and near vision, as well as for astigmatism—a condition in which vision is blurred due to an elliptical or football-shaped cornea. By correcting both range of focus and astigmatism, patients may be free of glasses or contacts for the first time in decades.
We all make errors. Some we can control, others simply are part of our biology. Such is the case with ‘refractive errors,’ a collection of common eye distortions that affect vision.
Since LASIK was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1998, it’s come a long way, ushering in one of the most popular elective laser procedures ever developed.
Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world, and more than 22 million Americans have them, according to the National Institutes of Health. Vision decreases as the lens at the front of the eye becomes clouded. But there is good news.
The eye is supposed to be round like a tennis ball, but some people’s eyes are more suited to football than tennis. If the clear front part of the eye, the cornea, is somewhat elongated, vision isn’t as sharp as it should be. This condition, known as astigmatism, used to be difficult to treat, but new technologies in glasses, contact lenses and corrective eye surgeries have changed that.
Parents generally make sure their kids receive all the medical care they need. Immunizations, checkups and developmental screenings are among the pantheon of regular pediatric care. And a complete eye exam should be part of that list.
Couple near spectacles
Couple near spectacles
Very few people have perfect vision. Even if you’re born with perfect eyesight, most eyes eventually develop some sort of flaw that necessitates vision correction. Astigmatism is one of the most common types of refractive errors in which the cornea—the clear front part of the eye through which light is focused—is not perfectly round. It’s like trying to see clearly through a distorted windowpane, and blurry vision is the result.
Eye-chart (selective focus)
Thank goodness for sports analogies when it comes to explaining medicine. Take astigmatism, for example. The normal cornea is shaped like a basketball. The cornea with astigmatism is shaped like a football. With a perfectly round cornea, light is focused into one point on the retina, giving us undistorted vision. The football shape causes multiple points of focus—not good for visual acuity.
Eye-chart (selective focus)
When a small child can’t hear, he doesn’t develop speech normally, and when he can’t see, learning suffers. That’s why early detection in both areas is key to giving children a leg up on later achievement.
In the last few years, surgical correction of vision has taken quantum leaps in precision and safety. “When we first started reporting on LASIK vision correction, 95 percent of patients achieved at least 20/40 vision, which is what you need to get a driver’s license,” says Dr. Jay Pepose of Pepose Vision Institute. “Then we started reporting the percentage who achieve 20/20 vision. Now we know that young healthy people can see better than 20/20, around 20/16.” Pepose adds that with additional enhancements in refractive surgery, most people can achieve vision of 20/12.
Well, we knew it would happen: Our arms are too short for reading. The beginning of the end, our vanity tells us. We’re doomed to tri-focals, or at the very least, progressives. Not so fast. Seventy-six million boomers attract a lot of R & D dollars. Manufacturers are starting to flood the market with multifocal contact lenses. Presbyopia means ‘old eye’ and involves the loss of the eye’s ability to focus on close objects. It’s a part of normal aging and occurs gradually. Todd LaPoint and Philip Treu, optometrists with Eye Care Associates, report fitting more and more of the new lenses to help boomers get by in style.
Eyelashes After Chemo
The last thing most teenagers expect is vision loss. Yet the teen years are the most common age of onset for a condition that causes progressive deterioration of eyesight. Although it does not result in total blindness, at least one in 10 people who have keratoconus (KC) eventually require a corneal transplant to maintain adequate vision for daily tasks.
When it comes to state-of-the-art technology, the eyes have it. In the last few years, advances in technology have improved every aspect of eye care from diagnosis to treatment. Two local practices, SureVision Eye Centers and Mulqueeny Eye Centers, merged in 2003 to bring the most up-to-date technology to our area. Owned by Lawrence Gans, M.D.; Sean Mulqueeny, O.D.; and Edward Doisy, M.D.; the Centers, in Missouri and Illinois, offer a variety of services and experienced doctors who are committed to patient education.
Springtime brings its fabulously bright, crisp flora to the area, making up for winter’s dearth of color. But for people suffering from cataracts, the foliage isn’t so much sunny as it is blurry. What can be done to restore or prevent the loss of vision resulting from cataracts? We asked local experts about the latest advances in cataract treatment.