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Simulating Outcomes of Cataract Surgery: Important Advances in Ophthalmology


As the human eye ages, the crystalline lens stiffens (presbyopia) and opacifies (cataract), requiring its replacement with an artificial lens [intraocular lens (IOL)]. Cataract surgery is the most frequently performed surgical procedure in the world. The increase in IOL designs has not been paralleled in practice by a sophistication in IOL selection methods, which rely on limited anatomical measurements of the eye and the surgeon’s interpretation of the patient’s needs and expectations. We propose that the future of IOL selection will be guided by 3D quantitative imaging of the crystalline lens to map lens opacities, anticipate IOL position, and develop fully customized eye models for ray-tracing-based IOL selection. Conversely, visual simulators (in which IOL designs are programmed in active elements) allow patients to experience prospective vision before surgery and to make more informed decisions about which IOL to choose. Quantitative imaging and optical and visual simulations of postsurgery outcomes will allow optimal treatments to be selected for a patient undergoing modern cataract surgery.


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