People are living longer, more active lives. But, for many, their eyes are not keeping pace. Thanks to dedicated eye health practitioners and technological innovations, people do not necessarily have to live with the effects of aging eyes.
The first signs of trouble
It is assumed that vision issues such as difficulty reading, driving at night and watching TV are an unavoidable fact of aging. However, new options to address presbyopia, cataracts and glaucoma can help people see better than they have in years.
“For 70 years, Alcon has been helping people see the world better through advanced surgical and vision care products,” says Sergio Duplan, North American region president for Alcon, the global leader in eye care. “Our company is grounded in cutting-edge innovation to support people’s vision throughout their lifetime.”
One of the first signs of aging eyes is presbyopia — the inability to see text on your smartphone, computer or a menu at close distances. More than 110 million Americans have presbyopia that often results in needing bifocals or reading glasses.
“I’m particularly sympathetic to my presbyopic patients because I have it and can put myself in their shoes,” says Dr. April Jasper, president of the Florida Optometric Association. “Lots of my patients prefer wearing contact lenses so they don’t have to rely on reading glasses that many complain make them look older.”
DAILIES TOTAL1® Multifocal contact lenses are an alternative to bifocals and reading glasses. These new lenses — designed for people with presbyopia — offer comfort, clarity and seamless transitions between near and far vision throughout their daily activities.
A new fix for cataracts
Cataracts, the clouding of the eye’s natural lens, are also a part of the natural aging process. Anyone who lives long enough will develop them. To restore clear vision, the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with an intraocular lens (IOL). Until recently, many people who underwent cataract surgery still had to wear glasses afterwards. Earlier this year, Alcon launched an IOL with an ACTIVEFOCUS™ design that not only fixes cataracts but also corrects other vision issues.
“Most people don’t realize that cataract surgery is painless and that a 5- to 10-minute surgery is all it takes to make cataracts a thing of the past,” says Dr. Lawrence Woodard, medical director at Omni Eye Services in Atlanta. “New developments are allowing us to correct presbyopia and astigmatism during cataract surgery, allowing people to lose their glasses and enjoy better vision than at 30.”
Regular check-ups for healthy eyes
Annual, comprehensive eye exams are the only way to catch eye problems, especially glaucoma. It’s often called the “silent thief of sight” and is the leading cause of irreversible blindness around the globe — impacting 76 million people worldwide.
Glaucoma is often asymptomatic and can go undetected until it is at an advanced stage. Treatments for glaucoma range from eye drops and oral medications to laser surgery. But medication adherence can be challenging due to side effects, difficulty administering drops and the number of medications required daily.
“One of our newest innovations to treat glaucoma is the CyPass® Micro-Stent. It is implanted at the time of cataract surgery to reduce intraocular pressure. More than 90 percent of patients in our clinical trial were medication-free after the surgery,” explains Duplan.
Patient involvement is an increasing trend in medicine, but with so many technological developments in eye health, it’s vital that patients ask their doctors about all the available options. New breakthroughs are happening every day. By staying informed, people can have better vision and maintain their quality of life well into their later years.
Dash Lunde, [email protected]