cataracts, cataract, cataract vision

Cataracts & Vision

By Francis D'Ambrosio, Jr., M.D.

Cataracts, Vision & Presbyopia
In order for you to have clear vision, light must be able to pass through the optical structures of your eyes and focus properly on the retina.

The two primary structures that are responsible for refracting, or bending light so that it can focus properly on the back of the eye, are the cornea, which is the outermost clear curved “lens” that is visible when looking at your eye from the side, and the crystalline lens, which is located behind the colored part of the eye, or the iris, and is not directly visible. The crystalline lens will be examined during your eye exam by using specialized instruments to look through the pupil, or the dark center of the iris. Both the cornea and the crystalline lens need to be perfectly clear in order for you to have good vision. If you are in good health and have not had chronic eye infections, inflammation or had any trauma to your eyes, the cornea is likely to maintain its clarity throughout your life. The crystalline lens however, undergoes a number of changes that progress as we age. These aging changes can affect your vision.

Even if you have had “good eyes” and “normal vision” all your life, your vision is likely to begin to change in a number of ways as we progress from our 40’s, to our 50’s and then our 60’s and through our senior years. The most obvious changes to our vision occur as a result of these changes in the crystalline lens.

The two most common changes that occur in the crystalline lens are:

  • A loss of optical clarity, which can be caused by a cataract and
  • A loss of flexibility, called presbyopia, which makes it harder to read.

About Cataracts
cataract surgeon massachusetts, cataract surgeon worcester, Dr. D'AmbrosioAs we get older, cataracts become a problem experienced by a great number of people just like you. Cataracts are a common cause of vision problems among people in their 50’s and 60’s and they are actually a major cause of senior eye problems and vision loss. More than 20 million Americans age 40 and older have cataracts and more than half of all Americans develop cataracts by age 80. A cataract is a clouding of the crystalline lens of the eye preventing light rays from passing through it easily. This results in a clouding and blurring of vision. For many patients, cataracts start out slowly and have little effect on vision at first. But, as the cataract becomes denser, so does the impact on vision.

About Presbyopia & Near Vision
Presbyopia is an aging phenomenon that begins at around age 40 and progresses until about age 65 as the crystalline lens loses its flexibility. This flexibility allows the crystalline lens to change its shape and alter its curvature in order to rapidly focus your vision at various distances, from far to near, to arm’s length, to far or near again. The focusing capacity of the crystalline lens gives you the ability to see things at all distances. Around the time we enter our 40’s, the crystalline lens begins to stiffen. The stiffening of the crystalline lens makes it progressively more difficult to change focus from distance to near, thus making it more difficult to see close up. Initially, this reduces our ability to see objects clearly at arm’s length. As presbyopia progresses, it becomes more difficult to see reading material or objects close up.

As patients begin to experience presbyopia, they often notice that their "arms are too short" requiring them to see up close by moving near objects and reading material farther away in order to bring them into focus and to see them clearly. It is important to know that presbyopia affects everyone, including those who have cataracts. As Presbyopia begins, people who have never worn eyeglasses find that they need reading glasses or bifocals in order to read and see up close. People who already wear glasses may need bifocals or trifocals in order to see up close and have comfortable near vision.

About Lens Implants
Advances in cataract surgery and lens implants allow us to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, as well as the near vision focusing problem, presbyopia, with advanced technology lens implants. Near vision presbyopia correcting lens implants allow us to correct distance, arm’s length and near vision to help patients achieve clear distance vision as well restore their normal range of vision without relying on eyeglasses, bifocals or reading glasses. At D'Ambrosio Eye Care we offer near vision correction lens implants such as the Tecnis® Multifocal Lens Implant, the AcrySof® ReSTOR® Multifocal Lens Implant, and the Crystalens® Accommodating Lens Implant as well as toric lens implants for astigmatism correction.

Patients, especially central and western Massachusetts, and Worcester seniors concerned about a cataract, wishing to learn more about eye cataracts, vision, presbyopia or lens implants are encouraged to call D'Ambrosio Eye Care at 800-325-3937 to schedule an appointment for an eye exam and evaluation.