Sarah Goodwin

Kathi Ovnic
Holly Korschun
June 29, 1998

Patients who have cataract surgery at the Emory Eye Center now have a new option for improving their view of the world.

More than 1.4 million individuals each year have cataract surgery. In most cases, the eye's cloudy lens -- the cataract -- is surgically removed and the focusing power of the eye is restored with an artificial lens.

"Now for the first time, patients can have their lenses replaced with a multifocal intraocular lens (IOL) that provides clear vision for both close-up and distance viewing," said George O. Waring III, M.D., a cornea specialist and professor of ophthalmology, Emory University School of Medicine.

Patients who have conventional IOLs, which are monofocal and have a fixed-distance focal point, often can see at a distance, but need glasses for tasks such as reading and cooking. Many even need bifocal spectacles for both close-up and distance viewing

"Patients who have the multifocal IOL will have a reduced need for glasses after surgery," reports Dr. Waring. "Some individuals may need a pair of spectacles for specific situations, such as reading at long stretches of a few hours or driving at night."

Allergan, Inc. of Irvine, CA makes the multifocal lens, called the AMO®Array® Multifocal Intraocular Lens. It received approval from the FDA in September 1997.

"Cataract surgery has come a long way in recent years," said Dr. Waring. "Modern cataract surgery at Emory now means no shot, no stitch, no patch, and, in most cases, no glasses." The multifocal lens can be folded and implanted within the eye using only a tiny incision that does not require sutures. The procedure is performed under topical anesthesia, and the patient can return home the same day without having to wear a patch.

The cornea section of the Emory Eye Center provides comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of cataracts, other disorders of the cornea and injuries to the eye. In addition to the clinical component, scientists in the Eye Center's laboratories are looking into the causes and prevention of age-related and hereditary cataracts.

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