Breakthrough Vision Correction Procedures

Dr Robert Cionni, with the Eye Institute of Utah, is one of the leaders in replacement lenses that allow you to have the vision you once did.

There are a number of different reasons why your vision might be changing and your optometrist or ophthalmologist can confirm the reasons, but now there are new technologies available that can help alleviate your dependency on glasses and proactively treat other age-related eye conditions. We’re talking about presbyopia-correcting vision technologies.

So What is Presbyopia?

When people develop presbyopia (and just about everybody does), they find they need to hold books, magazines, newspapers, menus and other reading materials at arm’s length in order to focus properly. During your mid 40s, people usually start experiencing blurred vision at near points.When they perform work that requires good near vision, such as embroidery or handwriting, they may have headaches or eyestrain or feel fatigued.

Presbyopia is an age-related condition that results in a blurring of your near vision. It’s different from astigmatism, nearsightedness and farsightedness, which are related to the shape of the eyeball and sometimes caused by genetic factors, disease or trauma. It’s caused by a gradual loss of flexibility in the eye’s natural lens and surrounding muscles. The eye’s lens stiffens with age, so it is less able to focus when you view something up close. The hallmark of presbyopia is being able to see distance well (with or without glasses) but still needing reading glasses or bifocals for near vision tasks. And there’s no getting around it — this condition happens to everyone at some point in life, even those who have never had vision problems before.

Currently an estimated 90 million people in the United States either have presbyopia or will develop it by 2014. This is generating a huge demand for eyewear, contact lenses, and surgery that can help presbyopes deal with their failing near vision.

So What Can Be Done About Presbyopia?

Until just recently, people have used bifocals, reading classes and monovision with glasses or LASIK to help improve their “reading” vision. However, most people have just had to learn to deal with their aging eyes. Now there is another safe and effective method for treating presbyopia while also addressing other potential eye problems that develop with age! The solution comes in the form of a new line of lens implants called multifocal or accommodating IOLs (intraocular lens). Your ophthalmologist inserts these lens implants with one of the most common out-patient surgical procedures performed today, cataract surgery. Often times, the procedure can be performed in about 10 minutes.

For many patients who are already developing cataracts, this procedure and the new implants take care of both conditions, helping you be less dependent on glasses or contacts. And for those patients who have not yet developed cataracts, this procedure is a proactive solution because it removes the possibility of ever forming a cataract to begin with and some of the implants also provide essential UV protection for your eyes.

Not everyone is a candidate for these new types of implants, as everyone’s eyes are different and there may be other factors that influence your eyesight. Keep in mind that these special implants are typically not covered by insurance. While Medicare and other insurances cover the cost of the cataract surgery, when a cataract has been diagnosed, the patient will need to pay out of pocket for the ability to not need distance glasses or readers.

Who is a candidate for Presbyopia Correcting Intraocular Lenses (IOLs)?

Everyone undergoing cataract surgery is a potential candidate and may benefit from this technology. Yet, like any surgical procedure, there are certain criteria that make for the best possible outcomes.



Amount of Astigmatism

Eyes except for Cataracts


to Reduce Dependency on
Significant Ocular

What if I Have Astigmatism?

Patients who have a large amount of astigmatism may not do as well with a presbyopia-correcting lens implants. Astigmatism is best described when the front of eye is shaped more like a football than basketball so glasses or contact lenses are needed for clear vision at all distances. For patients who have astigmatism, a toric IOL might be another solution for vision correction. While the toric IOL implant does not address or treat presbyopia, it does a phenomenal job of treating astigmatism for cataract patients providing them a 97% chance of glasses-free distance vision.

How Successful are These New Implants?

Lens replacement after cataract surgery did not take into consideration astigmatism or presbyopia until recently, leaving patients dependent on their glasses. Now we have artificial lens implants that can provide patients a high likelihood of decreased need for glasses at distance and even at near. Depending on which style of lens implant used up to 90% never put on glasses (other than non-prescription sunglasses) for anything again. However, we never promise complete freedom as some still occasionally need readers for instance when trying to read small print in dim light.

The eye doctors at the Eye Institute of Utah are among the country’s leading ophthalmologists using these new lens implants. Because of their expertise, our cataract specialists were among the few selected to participate in the FDA clinical trials for these advanced technology lenses. For more information, please contact The Eye Institute of Utah for additional information. We would be delighted to speak with you personally in order to answer any questions you may have. Call 801-263-5700 or email us at

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