Eyecare specialists at Alcon have conducted a media workshop to educate Malaysians about sight-robbing eye conditions and how best to treat them. The workshop titled, “Unclouding Cataract and Simplifying Presbyopia Correction” was held in conjunction with World Sight Day.
According to a recent Malaysian National Eye Survey, more than one in every four older persons (26.8%) in the population suffers from cataracts, which have been reported to be the leading cause of blindness.
Dr. Cheong Fook Meng, a Consultant Ophthalmologist at Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur, likens the eyes to windows – imagine what happens when those windows get cloudy.
“As [cataract] progresses, the eye’s lens gradually becomes hard and cloudy, allowing less light to pass through. This is when patients may see changes in their vision and sometimes become completely blind in severe cases. It is normal to develop cataracts as you age, but it can also be caused by eye injuries, certain diseases or medications,” Dr. Cheong said.
Presbyopia is another condition that occurs naturally as a person ages, where the eyes gradually lose the ability to focus on nearby objects.
“An individual may become aware of presbyopia when they start to hold read materials at arm’s length. With presbyopia, the lens inside your eye progressively loses its flexibility, making it harder for your eye to focus the light reflected from objects. Your eyes need to focus light correctly as it allows the process of converting the light into electrical signals, which reach the brain to process the images you see.
“Both cataract and presbyopia can be treated with cataract surgery and the implantation of intraocular lens (IOL). This surgical treatment allows the removal of the eye’s cloudy natural lens and replacing it with an IOL. This new lens is clear, made to fit your eye shape and personalised according to the patient’s vision needs.”
There are several types of IOLs available in Malaysia such as monofocal lenses designed to correct a single range of vision, usually to see distant objects; toric lenses for astigmatism, they restore vision for one area of focus; and multifocal IOLs, designed to provide clear vision for distant and near vision.
Extended depth-of-focus (EDOF) IOLs are presbyopic-correcting IOLs (PC-IOL) that create a single elongated focal point to enhance a patient’s range of vision (range of distance for which the human eye can see an object clearly) – EDOF IOLs may improve patients’ quality of life, as can provide distant, intermediate (at arm’s length, for example, when reading a newspaper or working on a laptop) and functional near vision, with minimum visual disturbances. It may even decrease a patient’s need to wear glasses after their cataracts have been removed.
“With new advancements in vision correcting IOLs, cataract surgery is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that can change and improve a patient’s everyday life,” added Dr. Wong Jun Shyan, a Consultant Ophthalmologist at International Specialist Eye Centre in Kuala Lumpur.
“Many patients who have opted for multifocal IOLs report seeing halos around lights or experiencing glares. These issues are not commonly faced in monofocal lenses; however, some patients choose the former as it reduces their dependency on contact lenses and glasses. EDOF IOLs, on the other hand, are developed using a new technology that delivers an enhanced range of vision with a reduced frequency of glares and halos, regardless of the lighting conditions.
“During the day or when driving at night, these lenses deliver great vision and clarity. When speaking to ophthalmologists, they will be able to break down the qualities of each IOL according to the patient’s preference and priorities.”