The Aging of the Lens

If you among the 90 million Baby Boomers in America today, you are more than likely suffering from symptoms of an aging lens.  The two most prevalent age-related vision conditions are presbyopia (Greek for "aging eye") and cataracts. Both are the inevitable result of age and its eventual impact on the crystalline lens - the part of the eye that brings the world into focus, ideally clearly.  But, as time marches on, you will likely experience one and probably both of these common vision impairments.  Fortunately, today you can take advantage of medical and technological advances that can turn back the clock and bring the world into clear focus, enabling you to "see the most" out of your life.

 Presbyopia

Presbyopia causes the crystalline lens to stiffen and lose its flexibility which progressively reduces the eye's ability to focus, particularly in the near range of vision.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that presbyopia affects "virtually every adult by age 52." Symptoms can appear between the ages of 38-45 and make it difficult to read or see things up close without corrective lenses.  While the symptoms of presbyopia can be temporarily addressed with reading glasses, today many are choosing lens replacement procedures - using presbyopia-correcting intraocular lens technology - to reduce or eliminate their dependence on reading glasses.

Cataracts

Cataracts are among the leading causes of poor vision and blindness around the world.  Latin for "waterfall," cataract simply means the lens is no longer clear.  As a part of the aging process, the crystalline lens becomes increasingly cloudy causing progressively blurred vision, impaired night vision and an inability to see things clearly. In addition to age, cataract development is related to smoking, sun exposure, diabetes and eye trauma. In the early stages of cataracts, vision can be improved with reading glasses, magnification or better lighting; however, the only "cure" for cataracts is lens removal.  According to the CDC, approximately 3.1 million U.S. cataract procedures were performed in 2006.  Cataract surgery removes the clouded natural lens and replaces it with an artificial plastic lens.  Today's intraocular lens technology allows adults to correct their natural vision (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism) for improved focusing ability that can reduce or eliminate the need for corrective lenses.