Advancements in the Treatment of Cataracts

According to the World Health Organization, cataracts are responsible for 51 percent of the world’s blindness. Cataracts can be described as a clouding of the eye’s lens that occurs naturally with age. They’re actually a buildup of proteins that clump together and start obscuring vision over time. Cataracts can cause varying degrees of vision problems, with less advanced cases causing blurry vision and extremely advanced cases causing total blindness.  Now, cataract treatment is (usually) an outpatient surgical procedure, but people have been working to reclaim their sight from cataracts for thousands of years.

The earliest surgical procedure to remove cataracts, called “couching”, was documented in the 5th century BC. “Couching” involved dislocating the affected lens with a sharp object, moving it away from the pupil and letting it sit in the vitreous cavity towards the rear of the eye (ouch). Unfortunately, images still appeared blurry to the patient, as the removed lens wasn’t replaced with a corrective one. Luckily, nowadays, treatments for this common eye problem are relatively quick and pain-free.

Today’s cataracts are primarily treated with modern technology. When cataracts are removed, a replacement lens must be implanted. English ophthalmologist, Sir Nicholas Harold Lloyd Ridley invented the intraocular lens (IOL) and pioneered intraocular lens surgery for cataract patients. During World War II, Ridley saw Royal Air Force casualties with eye injuries and noticed that when splinters of acrylic plastic from aircraft cockpits became lodged in pilot’s eyes, this did not trigger inflammatory rejection as did glass splinters. This inspired him to manufacture a lens using the same material and, in 1952, the first IOL surgery was performed in the U.S.

IOL technology has advanced in recent years, and Illinois Eye Center proudly offers a variety of IOLs customized to reflect patients’ lifestyle and visual needs. There are several different types of intraocular lenses available, from the basic Monofocal lens implant to the more sophisticated Advanced Technology lens implants, also known as Multifocal lens implants.

Whether you have astigmatism, presbyopia, or any other vision problem, Illinois Eye Center has the lens you need to reclaim your vision from cataracts. Call us today at (309) 243-2400 or visit our website for more information on cataract surgery and IOL options.

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