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For theater fan with deteriorating vision, multifocal lenses are just the ticket

Cheryl Webb is seeing much clearer than she has in decades — and she’s enjoying life much more than she was a few years ago.

About eight years ago, Cheryl’s eye doctor detected the start of cataracts in both eyes. Cataracts form when the protein naturally found in the eye’s lens starts clumping together, creating changes in one’s vision.

As her vision deteriorated, so did Cheryl’s once-active lifestyle. She couldn’t see to
do intricate needlework anymore. She stopped reading the historical novels and mysteries she enjoyed. Her night vision got so bad that if she needed to do evening presentations for her job with an area nonprofit, she’d ask someone to drive her. She stopped going to evening theater performances and concerts, another favorite pastime.

In June 2011, Cheryl underwent cataract surgery, getting artificial multifocal lens implants that allow her to see both near and far.

“My vision was so much clearer immediately,” says the 69-year-old Cheryl who’d worn glasses since age 12. She was nearsighted and also had astigmatism — a condition causing blurred vision.

With eyes that were in otherwise good health, Cheryl was the perfect candidate for multifocal lenses — the “Cadillac for cataracts” because they are the top-ofthe-line artificial implant for patients who need more than one refractive correction, says Jennifer Burgoyne-Dechant, MD, a board-certified surgical ophthalmologist with Via Christi Clinic in Wichita.

“We can customize the vision results for patients with multifocal lenses,” says Dr. Burgoyne-Dechant. “With a monofocal lens, we can make only one refractive correction.”
While some patients may still need glasses, some, like Cheryl, can be spectacle-free — except for wearing sunglasses to protect from harmful UV rays. Insurance generally doesn’t pay for multifocal lenses, since they are considered a premium upgrade, but Cheryl feels the expense of the surgery was well worth it. Multifocal lenses can cost about $2,000, depending on patients’ needs.

“It was the best investment I ever made in me,” says the green-eyed Cheryl. “When you get older and can’t do the things you once loved doing, you lose confidence in yourself. This surgery gave me back my freedom and it gave me back my self-confidence.”

Look for the signs 

It might not be clear that your vision is changing due to cataracts. The start of a cataract may only affect a
small part of your eye’s lens — that’s why it’s important to have your vision checked annually, particularly after age 40, and no less than every
two years.

Make an appointment to check for cataracts if you have the following symptoms:

  • Cloudy or blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Seeing a halo effect around lights or other bright images
  • Difficulty seeing or driving at night
  • Changes in seeing color, with colors appearing faded or washed out

 

 
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