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Slew of New Lenses Act Like Real Eyes

Intraocular Lenses Are Allowing Patients to Put the Glasses Away

WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Oct. 17, 2005 (Chicago) -- As more Americans age and require glasses, manufacturers are developing a variety of new lenses that can be placed in the eye that act more like the normal eye.

"We are seeing more and more options," said John Vukich, MD, associate professor of ophthalmology at the University of Wisconsin. "Patients simply are expecting more out of medicine. They fully expect to see well and expect the technology."

Vukich and other eye specialists spoke at a news conference here during the American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual meeting.

They said the latest advances in intraocular lenses include implantable lenses with optic zones that allow a person to see up close and at distances, and accommodating lenses that automatically adjust to the needs of the eye.

There are also new lenses -- not yet on the market -- that allow an individual to change the depth of vision with a tilt of the head.

Each year there are 2.4 million surgeries to remove an aging cloudy lens (cataract) and insert an intraocular lens (IOL), Vukich said. With the new multifocal IOLs patients are able to get more than one focus, allowing patients to see close up and at a distance.

"The hot topic here is the multifocal intraocular lenses," said David Chang, MD, clinical professor of ophthalmology at the University of California, San Francisco.

No More Halo Effect

Although the initial multifocal IOLs often produced a halo, the most recent lenses have less halo effect and have improved close-up vision, he said. Chang cited Advanced Medical Optics' ReZoom lens, which provides distance vision, intermediate vision, and close-up vision through five different optic zones.

Studies show that after lens implantation, 92% of patients only occasionally needed glasses with 93% having intermediate vision and 81% near vision. "Patients basically are spectacle independent," he said.

Another multifocal lens -- Alcon's ReSTOR -- provides good enough vision that in studies 80% of patients could put away their glasses and 17% only had to wear glasses at times, Chang said.

The advantage of the multifocal IOL is that vision is improved without having to wear glasses, he said. "That is the convenience of these lenses. You can read price tags at the store, read menus, labels, and work on the computer."

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