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Beyond Bifocals: Wavefront Technology Benefits Patients With Presbyopia

For those who’ve reached the age when reading a newspaper means holding it at arm’s length or fumbling for reading glasses, wavefront-optimized //lens technology may offer a better solution, according to data presented at the recent American Academy of Ophthalmology’s 2006 Joint Meeting.

According to Marguerite McDonald, MD, FACS, progressive lenses developed using wavefront technology offer significant improvements over standard lenses for treating presbyopia, also known as “Over-40 Near-Blur Syndrome.”

Dr. McDonald, a cornea/refractive surgeon with the Ophthalmic Consultants of Long Island in Lynbrook, NY and a leading researcher in ophthalmology and wavefront technology, cited a 609-person study that showed 72 percent of patients reported better or clearly better near vision with the wavefront-optimized progressive lenses. Additionally, the study revealed that 67 percent reported better or clearly better distance vision and 65 percent reported better or clearly better intermediate vision.

“In the study, wavefront-optimized lenses provided improved near view optics because they offered better control of the correction,” she said. “Wavefront-optimized lenses also had three times less distance distortion and reduced astigmatism for an intermediate viewing area, allowing it to be 30 percent wider.”

According to Dr. McDonald, wavefront technology can also correct many of the low-light vision problems such as ghosting and halos that are common in traditional progressive lenses. She said applying the fine-tuning of wavefront optics brings sharper vision, less blurring and overall enhanced performance to progressive lenses.

“As light passes through a spectacle lens it is changed and this can introduce distortions that affect the quality of what the wearer sees,” she said. “This is particularly true of progressive lenses, which have complex corrections across the lens to allow for distance, intermediate and near vis ion. Wavefront-optimized lenses correct the lens itself so that when light passes through on the way to the eye, less distortion occurs. The result is sharper vision and more generously sized viewing areas at near, intermediate, and distance.”

Dr. McDonald said wavefront-optimized lens technology represents the state of the art in spectacle lens correction for presbyopes.

“Just about 50 percent of all Americans with presbyopia are still wearing bifocals, a 220-year old technology invented by Benjamin Franklin,” said Dr. McDonald, who was among the first ophthalmologists to perform the wavefront-based laser surgery in the United States. “If Mr. Franklin were alive today, he would no doubt be wearing wavefront-optimized progressive lenses.”

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