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Implantable lens makes glasses unnecessary.

If you are having trouble reading or sending text messages on your cell phone, eye surgeons from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, may have a remedy. Intraocular lenses, the next generation of implantable lenses, are designed to correct cataracts and presbyopia, the blurry eyesight that commonly occurs around age 40. They focus on improving middle and near distances, which includes viewing words on computer screens, reading print materials, and viewing text-enabled cell phones.

IOLs, or permanent lenses, have become an increasingly popular solution for people with presbyopia, with or without cataracts, who want to rid themselves of glasses permanently. Implantable lenses can correct vision at near, middle, and far distances by replacing the eye's natural or damaged lens. This new generation of lenses offers better clarity for many high-tech gadgetry demands, with tweaks to near vision, which increasingly is used for viewing data on cell phones and PDAs, and intermediate vision, used for computer screens or GPS devices, explains James McCulley, chairman of ophthalmology.

"A person is four times as likely to have 20/20 distance, intermediate, and near vision with this new lens as with the previous lens. Previously, that 20/20 equivalence often was not attained in the intermediate distance," notes McCulley, who directs the Center for Research in Age-Related Macular Degeneration. "The near power is now a little bit farther away, which puts it in the more typical normal reading distance, and the intermediate distance vision--which would be a computer screen, grocery store shelf, GPS, or the dashboard on a motor vehicle--is significantly improved."

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The new ReSTOR lens' design gathers and spreads light in a unique way, using an outer edge to focus distant images, the thicker center to focus on nearer objects, and layered surfaces that help with the in-between distances. "The remarkable thing with it is that, by moving the images in effect closer together, it did not increase any problems with overlap of images," McCulley marvels.

Aging causes the eye's natural lens to become opaque, scattering light and clouding vision. More than half of Americans 65 and older have cataracts, which can be hastened by diabetes, smoking, poor nutrition, and other factors.

Eye surgeons can correct the cataract problem and presbyopia simultaneously by removing the clouded lens and replacing it with a multifocal artificial IOL lens. Younger patients with presbyopia, in which near vision becomes blurry, also may eliminate the need for glasses with a multifocal IOL through a procedure called refractive lens exchange that typically is not covered by insurance. Potentlel side effects of IOLs may include visual aberrations like halos or diminished night vision.
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Title Annotation:Vision
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2009
Words:437
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