Treating Dysfunctional Lens Syndrome with Lens Replacement
by Joseph J. Ling, MD
3 Stages of Dysfunctional Lens Syndrome (DLS)
Before DLS occurs, the internal lens of our eye is typically clear and flexible. This allows vision to remain in focus at various distances. However, the lens naturally begins to harden and become less transparent over time. As patients enter into their 40s, a natural process called Dysfunctional Lens Syndrome (DLS) occurs in various stages:
DLS STAGE 1:Near vision begins to worsen. The beginning of DLS is commonly referred to as ‘presbyopia.’ This is the initial signs of the eye beginning to harden, and lose its flexibility. Patients may start to find it difficult to focus on things up close. This is typically the reason patients will start wearing reading glasses or bifocals during the 40’s and 50s.
Treatments for DLS Stage I: LASIK or Custom Lens Replacement.
DLS STAGE 2:Patients notice “vision isn’t as clear as it used to be and night vision is getting worse”. Typically during the 60s, the internal lens gradually begins to become discolored and yellowish as part of a natural aging process. This lens problem causes light to scatter as it passes. Patients begin to experience glaring and halos (particularly at night), as well as overall reduced vision clarity.
Treatment for DLS Stage 2: Custom Lens Replacement.
DLS STAGE 3: The cataract stage is when the lens becomes cloudy. Typically during the 70s, the cloudiness of the lens begins to significantly impact vision and enjoyment of life’s daily activities. It is almost like looking through a foggy window all the time. At this stage, the cloudy lens is called a “cataract”, where surgery is necessary to restore your vision to a more functional level.
Treatments for DLS Stage III: Basic Cataract Surgery (patients will still wear glasses) or Custom Lens Replacement
Lens Replacement Procedures
Basic Cataract Surgery:The goal of basic cataract surgery is to restore lens clarity, but patients usually still require glasses to see clearly at distance, near or both after basic cataract surgery. This is an outpatient procedure where the cloudy lens is replaced with a clear lens implant. Advanced cataracts can usually be partially-covered by one’s medical insurance.
Custom Lens Replacement (CLR) or “The CLEAR Procedure”:The goal of the CLR procedure is to restore clear vision without being dependent on glasses for distance or near activities. This is a modern outpatient procedure that replaces the dysfunctional lens with a clear lens implant that has additional capabilities. The CLR procedure can greatly improve vision quality, while also fixing the clouding of the lens. The focus power of lens implant is selected to correct for refractive errors, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. In addition to getting rid of glasses, CLR is a permanent lens solution that prevents cataracts from developing in the future. CLR is also known as Refractive Lens Exchange (or RLE).