It's something just about everyone struggles after turning 50: straining our eyes to make out the fine print. Now, a new generation of lenses is giving people the freedom to ditch their glasses for good.
Whether you are watching the big game, or a show on gardening, our world is now in high-definition.
The concept that brings TV to life is also helping people like Kate Cramblett see a whole new world.
"It's crystal-clear vision, and it's like having high-definition vision in your eye,” says Dr. Sheri Rowen, director of ophthalmology at the Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.
"You do see things sharper," says Kate.
Kate has always been nearsighted and then developed cataracts. She had surgery to implant a new HD lens. It uses her eye's own muscles to focus and improve near vision without compromising intermediate or distance vision. It can be used to fix cataracts or help someone who just wants to get rid of their glasses. Kate no longer needs glasses or contacts.
"It's like opening a present that's something you've wanted all your life. It's the gift of sight, and it's something that I never thought I would ever have," Kate says.
Another eyesight advancement: a new corneal implant that's being tested to help people see the fine print.
Rick Timmerman's 20-50 vision is now 20-20. Ophthalmologists implanted the experimental donut-shaped lens -- called acufocus -- underneath a flap in his cornea. It blocks unfocused light, allowing focused light to enter, making it easier to see clearly up close.
"It's the first time that we're able to see beautifully at distance and at near out of the same eye," says Dr. Thomas S. Tooma, medical director of the TLC Laser Eye Centers in Newport Beach, CA.
In a European study, 81 percent of patients achieved 20-20 vision after one year with the corneal implant. Two lenses helping baby boomers erase the blur from their lives.
The HD lens is FDA approved, but the implant Rick has is still in clinical trials.
Doctors say the artificial HD lens may be a better option than Lasik surgery for some patients, especially if the person is over 50. You also receive the benefit of never getting cataracts later in life.
TOPIC: GET RID OF YOUR GLASSES
VISION LOSS: Vision loss increases with age and currently affects one in every six adults ages 45 and older. Some warning signs of vision loss include having trouble recognizing faces or objects, hesitating when reaching for objects, bumping into objects more often, creating poor color combinations, having trouble writing, needing more light to read, squinting, tilting or moving close to focus when reading, watching TV or driving.
Some vision loss can be prevented or minimized with a few lifestyle changes, such as eating a balanced diet, exercising, quitting smoking, protecting your eyes from the sun. Most vision problems are due to age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts. Damage to the retina, damage to the brain's vision due to stroke, or tumor, side effects of medications, eye infections, vitamin deficiencies and inherited abnormalities may all affect vision. (Source: American Society on Aging)
LASIK SURGERY: Lasik stands for Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis. This procedure is designed to reduce a person's dependency on glasses or contact lenses. The surgery permanently reshapes the cornea, which is the clear covering of the front of the eye. Some of the risks include lost vision, debilitating visual symptoms, under treatment, overtreatment, and dry eye syndrome. (Source: Department of Health & Human Services)
ACUFOCUS: AcuFocus is a reversible surgery that corrects presbyopia. AcuFocus can be performed on patients who have already had Lasik. The AcuFocus surgery uses state-of-the-art-techniques and is a noninvasive procedure that only takes 30 minutes. During the operation, the surgeon inserts a lens under the cornea of the eye. This increases the depth of field, so the patient is able to see near objects with the same clarity as faraway objects. The AcuFocus implant blocks unfocussed light, which in return, increases depth of focus. Vision is expected to improve within months or even weeks of the procedure. (Source: AcuFocus.com)
HD LENS: HD lenses are polished with computer-controlled precision on the inner surface of the eye. This is a new technology that enlarges the total area the eye is able to see optimally. HD lenses put all of the optics on the inside of the lens, so it can be closer to the eye and increase a patient's field of vision by up to 30-percent. HD lenses can give off superior clarity and reduce lens distortion. (Source: Personalhdlenses.com)
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Dan Collins, Marketing and Media Relations
Mercy Medical Center