When cataract surgery is performed, the natural lens of the eye is removed and replaced with an implant lens to help focus incoming light.
Before the age of about 40, your natural lens has a kind of "autofocus" mechanism that allows you to have a range of focus from distance to near. This is due to tiny muscles in the eye that pull on the lens to change its shape, and thus its focus.
But as we age the natural lens hardens and responds less and less well to these focusing muscles. The result is a condition called "presbyopia." By the time we reach 60, we have almost no ability to change the focus of our lens.
Traditional cataract surgery replaces this lens with an implant lens. The implant also helps reduce the need for glasses---it is like putting the top part of a bifocal glasses "into" the eye.
When the implant power is chosen correctly, and there is no significant astigmatism, distance vision is usually very good without glasses. Most people will still need to use reading glasses, however, because the autofocus mechanism works poorly with traditional implants.
The CRYSTALENS is a newer implant. On its own it is a top quality implant optically. But it has an ingenious design in that it is crafted to be able to work well with the focusing muscles of the eye. It is able to flex and change its shape when you focus up close. most people who have the CRYSTALENS as an implant have a reduced need for reading glasses, or with only occasional use of them. Some won't need them at all.
In a sense, the CRYSTALENS can not only treat the cataract, but also the glasses, near and far. To this end it restores the vision of youth. It is like putting both the top and bottom of a pair of bifocals in the eye.
CRYSTALENSES work best when implanted in both eyes, but patients do achieve some benefits when only one eye is implanted.
The major downside to the CRYSTALENS is that it costs extra, over and above what the insurance would cover. The cost is similar to that of LASIK surgery.
Nevertheless, the CRYSTALENS does more than LASIK. It treats far vision, near vision, and cataracts. LASIK only treats the far vision. For more information on CRYSTALENS go to www.crystalens.com