Health & Wellness

Lifting the Veil on Cataracts

Advertorial – Are you finding it’s tough to read the fine print? Or do you consider being unable to drive at night an inevitable part of getting older? Both things were true of Tracey Dorey before she was treated for a prevalent eye condition that typically develops so gradually that people are often unaware they have it. Afterward, however, the difference in her vision was so dramatic that the Vancouver Island resident felt like Dorothy landing in Oz. “I had been living in a world of muted colour and indistinct shape, and BOOM!” she recalls.

Cataracts, the clouding of the eye’s lens, eventually affect most of us, and “the average age of onset is around 55 or 60,” notes Dr. Kathy Cao, a Toronto-based ophthalmologist with the Kensington Eye Institute. Yet because symptoms, such as blurry vision, fading colours, poor night vision or sensitivity to glare, develop slowly, “you may not notice,” Cao says. This is one reason the Canadian Ophthalmological Society recommends having a comprehensive eye exam every two years before age 65, and annually thereafter.

The good news? Not only is the surgery to treat cataracts brief, painless, and extremely effective, but thanks to advances in technology, there are options which may reduce the need for glasses —even readers—with the same procedure. A variety of new-generation replacement lenses can correct astigmatism (an irregularity that causes blurry vision) and provide clear focus at three distances: near (for tasks such as reading or applying eyeliner), intermediate (using a computer or tablet), and far (driving). People can select the lens that best suits their eye health, and aligns with their needs and priorities. For example, being able to play a sport glasses-free. “It’s like custom vision,” Cao says.

After a discussion with her eye surgeon about how she wanted to live her life following her procedure, Tracey Dorey opted for Alcon PanOptix® Trifocal lenses, and she’s thrilled with the outcome. “Colours are more vibrant, and I see a lot more nuancing of colour,” she says. “I can go outside and see detail on the side of a mountain or building, or the birds in the sky. The stars at night—I hadn’t seen them for a decade. It’s breathtaking.” Dorey can also drive at night again—even in the rain—and use the computer effortlessly. “I feel 20 years younger because I’m engaged with life again,” she says.

Peter Ackelauer of Emma Lake, Saskatchewan, whose vision was so poor prior to surgery he contemplated closing his business, had similarly spectacular results, enabling him to drive, read street signs, and pursue hobbies such as making stained glass and doing straw inlay work with ease. “After surgery, the first thing I did was vacuum the office, because of all the sawdust and things on the floor I hadn’t seen previously,” he says. “I would never have imagined I would have this kind of vision.”

Could this kind of improvement be possible for you, too? An eye care professional can detect the early stages of cataracts and help discuss the lens option best suited to your vision needs and eye health.


To learn more about cataracts and intraocular lenses, visit