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September 2008 Mayo Clinic Health Letter Highlights Cataract Removal, Severe Headache and Dual Energy X-Ray Imaging
Date:9/2/2008

Cataract Removal - New Choices for This Common and Successful Surgery

ROCHESTER, Minn., Sept. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Here are highlights from the September issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter. You may cite this publication as often as you wish. Reprinting is allowed for a fee. Mayo Clinic Health Letter attribution is required. Include the following subscription information as your editorial policies permit: Visit http://www.HealthLetter.MayoClinic.com or call toll-free for subscription information, 800-333-9037, extension 9771.

One aspect of aging that's usually fixable is cloudy vision due to cataracts.

In an otherwise healthy eye, cataract removal results in improved vision 95 percent of the time, according to the September issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter.

Cataracts are common. By age 65, about half of all Americans have developed some degree of lens clouding due to cataracts. Diagnosed during an eye exam, cataracts develop slowly and may not hamper vision much at first. But when cataracts affect the quality of life -- interfering with driving or reading -- it's time to consider surgery, the only treatment.

The most common surgical approach is called phacoemulsification. An ultrasound probe is used to soften and break up the clouded lens, which is suctioned out. Then, the surgeon inserts an artificial flexible lens. The outpatient procedure involves minimal anesthesia and tiny incisions.

The standard lens implant has a single focus point (monofocal), meaning the implanted lens can't adjust for both distant and close-up vision as can a natural lens. When a lens is implanted for distance vision, reading glasses will be needed, and vice versa.

The Food and Drug Administration recently approved a multifocal lens implant that can provide good vision for near and distance vision. However, studies have shown the versatility comes with some tr
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