As we age, the lens inside the eye progressively loses its natural flexibility. Overall quality of vision also begins to deteriorate due to changes in the protein that makes up the lens, causing it to become yellow rather than clear. There may be an increase in lens opacity, less contrast sensitivity, mild glare and an increase in aberrations. This is what is known as Dysfunctional Lens Syndrome (DLS). DLS will affect everyone at some point in their life, with most noticing these symptoms in their 40's. Patients find that they are holding the newspaper further away and eventually find that reading glasses are needed to bring small print into focus.
Eventually, these lens changes will lead to cataracts. In years past, individuals needed to wait until cataracts were significantly affecting their vision before surgery was an option, however with today's advances in technology, patients with DLS have options to treat their visual disturbances before cataracts develop. Refractive Lens Exchange is a great option for patients who are motivated to get out of glasses but don't want to wait until cataracts develop.