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Johns Hopkins Health - Clear Solution

Summer 2011
Issue No. 13

Clear Solution

Date: July 22, 2011

old lady

Get a good look at how to rid yourself of cataracts—and the need to wear glasses—from Wilmer Eye Institute experts Walter J. Stark, M.D., and Oliver Schein, M.D., M.P.H.

What are cataracts?
Your eyes contain a lens that focuses incoming light rays. A cataract is nothing more than your natural lens losing its clarity as you get older. Symptoms include increasingly blurred or double vision, halos or blurriness around lights, increased sensitivity to light and glare, the need for frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions, and difficulty driving at night or in bright light.

How do I decide whether I should have cataract surgery?
Choosing to have cataract surgery is a personal decision based on your visual needs. At the Wilmer Eye Institute, we ask patients: “Does your reduced vision interfere with your activities of daily living?” The good news is, the success rate here for cataract surgery is 99 percent.

How has technology improved?
When the eye lens is removed during cataract surgery it can be replaced with a premium lens—called a multifocal intraocular lens or an accommodating intraocular lens—that allows a patient to focus near and far with a reduced need for corrective glasses. Eighty to 90 percent of patients with the new premium intraocular lenses can get through the day without wearing glasses. Even patients with astigmatism can enjoy the benefits of clearer vision, thanks to another kind of intraocular lens.

Are premium lenses right for me?
It depends. Premium lenses are not for people with other eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, severe glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy. Also, the cost of premium lenses, which is not covered by Medicare or major insurances, may not fit everyone’s budget. But, according to one estimate, you could recoup that cost in 15 years by pocketing the money you would have spent on glasses.

Watch and listen to Johns Hopkins ophthalmologist Michael Boland, M.D., explain glaucoma and cataracts. View “The Aging Eye” at

For more information, appointments or consultations, call 877-546-1872 or visit