Implants Could Make Reading Glasses Redundant
A nation-wide trial is currently being conducted on a new procedure to give patients adjustable focusing power after cataract surgery, for the first time. The Crystal Lens implant surgery, which replaces the damaged natural lens in the eye, could potentially eliminate reliance on reading glasses for thousands of older Australians whose vision is deteriorating.
Currently treatment for cataracts, the main cause of eyesight deterioration in older people, involves replacing the damaged natural lens with a fixed artificial lens. This operation only provides clear vision for objects at a distance. The new Crystal Lens implant procedure involves replacing the damaged natural lens with an artificial hinged crystal lens that uses the eye's natural focusing ability to restore vision to normal, including short and long-range vision.
"Through this latest Crystal Lens implant surgery we have the potential to restore close up focus, where previously we could only provide clear vision for objects at a distance.
"This means that everyday tasks such as reading a bus timetable or a newspaper, which require close up focus, may no longer require wearing reading glasses or contacts."
The procedure works by implanting the Crystal Lens in the eye at the same location as the damaged natural lens. Its focusing power is calculated so that distant images are seen clearly when the eye muscle is relaxed. As objects move closer to the eye, the eye muscle instinctively begins to contract and pushes the crystal lens forward, changing the focusing power of the eye and providing clear sight.
"So far the results have been very encouraging, with patients demonstrating a good range of close vision. If the trials are a success I'd expect the procedure to be available to the general public within the next year."