Corrective Eye Surgery by Dr. Frikkie Hartog for Spectacle Independence

Corrective Eye Surgery for age related farsightedness

Spectacle independence at every age?

In younger individuals the lens inside the eye can change shape (accommodate) thereby changing the focus point of our vision. In the ideal situation accommodation will permit good distance and near vision without the need for spectacles. As we grow older the lens inside the eye becomes harder and less pliable. Accommodation is reduced due to the failure of accommodation of the lens. In our forties and fifties these age dependent changes to the lens inside the eye necessitates the need for reading glasses and this dependency will progress with advancing age. The human lens will become progressively harder and become cloudy; this then referred to as a cataract.

The dependency on reading glasses does depend on the underlying spectacle error though.  People that are near sighted will often remove their spectacles in order to read, whereas farsighted individuals will become more dependent on their spectacles over time.  Where they initially only need spectacles for reading, they will over time also need spectacles for computer work, and later for distance vision as well.

It is important to note that these changes are age related though. Irrespective of our use of spectacles or contact lenses, we will grow older, the lens will lose its accommodating properties and the focus possibilities of the eye will reduce, making us more dependent on spectacle correction.

The solution

The accommodation potential of the human lens cannot be restored, but the resultant spectacle dependence can be addressed permanently with the replacement of the human lens with an artificial lens. This is a permanent solution: the spectacle error will be stable since the changes in the human lens have been removed and the artificial lens never needs to be replaced. It is a permanent fixture in the eye.

Essentially the surgical solution is the same as that for cataract surgery, with the difference that it is done earlier. Dr. Hartog aims for spectacle independence in all his patients with surgery, whether it is done for cataracts or primarily to address the spectacle error. Due to the fact that the spectacle error changes at an older age due to changes in the lens, LASIK surgery of the cornea is not a suitable solution. Lens extractions addresses the spectacle error and prevent any future changes due to the stability in refraction that the artificial lens provide.

It is also important to note that the full spectacle error can be addressed, including nearsightedness, farsightedness as well as astigmatism. To this end Dr. Hartog utilizes aspheric intra-ocular lenses of high standard, mutifocal lenses as well as toric lenses and corneal relaxing incisions to address astigmatism.

Read our Blog on Presbyopia for more details.