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World Sight Day

Advancements in Lens Technology Open Canadians’ Eyes To Better Vision

Dr. Darren Albert

Ophthalmologist & Associate Professor, McGill University

Cataracts are one of the most common conditions Canadians will face, but new technology in cataract surgery has benefits that go far beyond just treatment. 

The eyes are our window to the world. As we mature, however, eye health can often take a backseat. For most Canadians, sight will deteriorate with age. Because it happens so gradually, many don’t realize how much they aren’t seeing. 


One of the most common culprits behind vision loss is cataracts. A cataract causes a clouding of the natural lens of the eye resulting in blurry vision. It happens progressively, first impacting small portions of vision and then growing with time. “Cataracts are probably the most common cause of reversible, treatable vision loss,” says Dr. Darren Albert, Ophthalmologist and Associate Professor at McGill University (Dr. Albert is a consultant for Alcon). 

Dr. Albert explains that, with age, the eye’s natural lens grows cloudy, like a dirty window. To treat the condition, patients must replace the ‘dirty’ lens through cataract surgery. Over 550,000 cataracts surgeries are performed every year in Canada, making it one of the most common — and safest — procedures. 

Opening eyes to better sight 

Cataract treatment has come a long way. “We’re now seeing less invasive surgery and better equipment,” Dr. Albert says, noting an uncomplicated surgery can be completed in 10-15 minutes under local, topical anesthesia (yes, no needles required). 

It’s important that patients better understand their choices so they can make an informed decision.

Perhaps one of the most significant improvements, however, has been in the way that intraocular lenses correct vision. During cataract surgery, a patient’s natural lenses are replaced with artificial intraocular lenses, which not only corrects cataracts, but can address other eye conditions like presbyopia and astigmatism at the same time. “We have amazing implant lens technology today. A lens can be chosen specifically for a patient’s eye and even correct their need for glasses,” says Dr. Albert. 

There have been incredible advancements in the development of intraocular lenses, but most patients don’t understand the extent to which cataract treatment can help in regaining lost vision. “The general public is not well educated on either cataracts or cataract surgery; it’s important that patients better understand their choices so they can make an informed decision on getting back to seeing clearly,” notes Dr. Albert. 

Understanding your options 

With a wide array of lenses available that also correct conditions like presbyopia and astigmatism, it’s important patients have a concrete understanding of their options so they can make an informed choice. Monofocal lenses, for example, correct vision at one focal point, often distance. For those with astigmatism, where the eye is shaped like a football, toric lenses are designed to minimize irregularities from the cornea and correct the astigmatism itself.  

Presbyopia-correcting lenses are one of the newer advancements in lens technology. Presbyopia is the farsightedness that occurs as the lens of your eye loses flexibility over time. Trifocal lenses can correct far, intermediate and near distance with less reliance on glasses, yet some people may have issues with glares and halos at night. Similarly, extended depth of focus lenses provide increased range of vision at far, intermediate and functional near distances, but glasses may be needed for tasks like reading fine print.

“Patients often don’t realize when their vision declines, so the results of cataract surgery can be life changing,” says Dr. Albert. Advancements in cataract treatment offer patients a chance to reclaim their vision and to finally see the world the way it was meant to be seen: vivid and clear. 

To learn more about cataracts or cataract surgery visit SeeTheFullPicture.ca and speak with your eye doctor about your vision goals.  

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