Categorized | Healthy Lifestyle

Combating cataracts: A surprising way to see better

By Dr. Helen K. Wu

If you or anyone you care about is among the estimated 20 million Americans living with cataracts, there may be good news for you. The FDA has approved an implantable lens that not only corrects the cataract, it can help many people see better than they have for years. Some say they hardly, if ever, need glasses again.

The problem

Cataracts cause a clouding on the normally clear lens in the eye. This can lead to vision problems, making things appear hazy, impaired driving and other lifestyle matters. Cataracts are increasingly likely to occur as you age.

The star

Approximately 3 million cataract surgeries are performed in the United States every year. One recent cataract surgery patient was Broadway, film and TV actress Florence Henderson, who was perhaps best known for her role as “Carol Brady” in the iconic television series The Brady Bunch. She has enjoyed a storied entertainment career that has spanned five decades.

“It is important for people over 50 to understand what a cataract is and what they can do about it,” said Henderson. Dr. James Khodabakhsh of the Beverly Hills Vision Institute said, “Florence Henderson is a very active woman. There are many vision correction options for the patient who is over 50 years old. When I examined Florence, I realized she was a candidate for Crystalens. We discussed how it would help her vision up close, far away and everything in between. She’s doing very well since her surgery.”

A solution

Unlike standard cataract replacement lenses, the Crystalens is designed to not only eliminate the cataract but give a full range of vision.

Before the surgery, Henderson said, “I couldn’t see street signs and my vision at night was not very good at all. Seeing street signs and freeway exit signs was getting to be a problem. Things were blurry and not getting any better. I knew I was going to have to do something. The blurry vision was making me uncomfortable, and I started getting eyestrain and some headaches, so I decided I needed to do something about it.

“When I spoke with my doctor, he told me that I was a candidate for the Crystalens and that I’d be able not only to see, but to see better. I said, ‘Wow, sign me up.’ The surgery itself was simple, easy and quick. I had no discomfort during the surgery or since. What was really exciting was the immediate improvement I experienced. I could see better immediately.

“I didn’t realize what I had been missing. The colors of everything are so much brighter and the sharpness and clarity of my vision are very noticeable. Since the surgery, I drive during the day and at night and that blurriness that used to bother me is all gone.

“When something works for me like Crystalens has, I like to share my experience. I do that to empower, inspire and motivate people to take care of themselves.”

New England Eye Center is the Ophthalmology Department for Tufts Medical Center and Tufts University School of Medicine. Cataract evaluations are offered Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 617-636-7800 to set up an evaluation or visit www.BostonCataract.comto learn more about cataracts and all of the various lens options available.  Archives of articles from previous issues can be read at


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