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During cataract surgery, artificial lenses are implanted in the eye to replace the cloudy natural lenses. These artificial lenses, known as intraocular lenses (IOLs), were once only able to correct distance vision, leaving patients dependent on eyeglasses or contact lenses for near vision. Many cataract patients, in addition to suffering from either nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism also suffer from presbyopia. Presbyopia is a condition in which the natural lens becomes stiffer with age reducing its ability to focus or accommodate. Loss of accommodation diminishes the ability to do near tasks such as reading.
Before premium lenses, patients were unable to see clearly at both near and far distances without the use of eyeglasses or contact lenses. Early lens implants were monofocal, meaning that they had only one focal point and could not adjust to varying distances.
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New advances in technology have allowed for the development of a variety of special intraocular lenses. Aspheric intraocular lenses maximize contrast sensitivity which is the best measurement of high quality vision. Toric intraocular lenses are used to precisely correct astigmatism. Multifocal IOLs do not accommodate but they do focus images at both near and far ranges. Extended Range of Vision IOL’s (Symfony) are new options to correct presbyopia by providing a continuous range of vision with fewer side effects of glare and halos. The Symfony Toric IOL can also correct astigmatism. Crystalenses are advertised as providing a limited amount of accommodation. A technique traditionally called monovision and now termed ‘blended vision’ is often used to reduce the use of reading glasses.