Cataracts affect nearly 22 million Americans age 40 and older, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. That is more than glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy combined. The good news: cataracts are very treatable and cataract surgery is the most frequently performed operation in the United States. And with a 98% success rate, it is also has the highest success rate of any surgery practiced today.
Cataract surgery involves removing the clouded lens and, in most cases, replacing it with a clear, intraocular lens implant (IOL). Cataract surgery is a painless outpatient procedure and most patients can resume their normal, everyday function in very little time and can even drive a few days after surgery.
However, it was not always this way.
History of the Intraocular Lens (IOL)
In 1946, Dr. Harold Ridley removed a cataract from a patient when a medical student observed, “You took out the cataract, but you did not replace it with anything. Why not?” This got Dr. Ridley thinking of an experience he had during World War II (WWII) while treating an injured RAF (Royal Air Force) pilot with a small piece of a plane’s plastic windshield forced inside his eye. For some reason, the eye tolerated the material – polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), also known as Plexiglass. Could an artificial lens be made from the same material?
Dr. Ridley was the first person to successfully implant an intraocular lens on November 29, 1949 at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. However, the IOL did not gain widespread acceptance until the 1970’s. Today, more than a million IOLs are implanted every year in the United States alone.
Cataract Surgery with the Anne Arundel Eye Center
The Anne Arundel Eye Center (AAEC) is a regional leader in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma and cataracts. A consultation with board certified ophthalmologist Dr. Samuel Boles will help guide you through the treatment process and help you determine when cataract surgery makes the most sense for you.
Dr. Boles utilizes the LenSx® Laser, the most technologically advanced option for cataract patients today, to create a cataract surgery that’s 100% unique to each patient.
If you have any questions about Cataract Treatment or wish to schedule an appointment with Anne Arundel Eye Center (AAEC), please contact Board Certified Ophthalmologist Dr. Samuel Boles, Dr. Kathryn Gurganus Turner, and the eye care specialists here at AAEC by calling 410-224-2010 or Click Here to fill out our contact form.
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For more eye care advice and information, please take a look at our previous blog posts.
Sam Li says
I had no idea that the intraocular lens was developed by Dr. Ridley in 1964. These lens implants seem beneficial for those seeking to improve the overall quality of their vision. If I were to undergo such a procedure, I would make sure to contact an optician that is known for their reliable results.
Emma C says
I was diagnosed at age 29 and offered the coke bottle solution back in 1979. By 1985, IOL was pretty common and I found a surgeon I trusted who had performed lens implants on younger patients. I was legally blind from the cataracts — the implants were a miracle.