Intraocular Lenses

Vivien Williams: There are some things about aging you just can't control. Take your eyesight, for example. You can fight it, but after age 40, the fine print on restaurant menus gets hard to read. And as you continue to mature, cataracts can form. But now, doctors are implanting lenses that can correct these things and even more. Here is the latest from Mayo Clinic.

Edyth Taylor is having cataract surgery. Her vision is such that it's hard for her to read the numbers on a clock.

Edyth Taylor, cataract surgery patient: I could guess. It's about five after 1:00.

Dharmendra Patel, M.D.—Mayo Clinic ophthalmology: But it's hazy?

Edyth Taylor: But it's hazy.

Dharmendra Patel, M.D.: And this is sharper?

Edyth Taylor: Oh yeah. That's as clear as can be.

Dharmendra Patel, M.D.: OK. Well, we're going to try to match it up so that your vision is equal in both eyes.

Vivien Williams: Edyth's already had one eye done. Now it's time for the other. Dr. Dharmendra Patel says the new lenses he's implanting will take care of the cloudiness caused by the cataract, plus they'll fix a whole lot more.

Dharmendra Patel, M.D.: The newer implants that are available, they do give you the multifocality. So, you will get correction for distance vision, which is similar to LASIK, but you also get the correction for near vision or reading vision, and that's something that's very unique to these implants.

Vivien Williams: Another patient, Joyce Wisby, got the new intraocular implants a few months ago.

Joyce Wisby: My coworker kept saying to me, 'You need to have this done, you can't see.'

Vivien Williams: Joyce says, after a lifetime of poor vision made worse by cataracts, she can finally see the fine print without glasses or contacts.

Joyce Wisby: If the numbers are real small, I'd have to go and ask for help or use a magnifying glass even with my glasses. Now I can read everything and everybody's coming to me and asking me to help them with the numbers.

Vivien Williams: During the procedure, Dr. Patel numbs the eye with drops. Then, through tiny incisions in the cornea, he removes the lens with the cataract. Next, he inserts the implant, which unfolds into position.

Edyth just got out of surgery.

Edyth Taylor: I can see the clock.

Vivien Williams: A 15-mininute operation for a lifetime of better vision. Dr. Patel says these lenses are most commonly used for people with cataracts, but younger people who want correction from nearsightedness could benefit too. For Medical Edge, I'm Vivien Williams.

Feb. 18, 2021