Intraocular Lens (IOL) Options
At Bellevue LASIK and Cataract, Dr. Leavitt approaches each cataract surgery as an opportunity to not only give you clearer vision with glasses but also as the chance to help “re-set the prescription” of the eye and decrease dependence on glasses. Nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and with the use of Advanced Technology lenses, presbyopia can be greatly minimized.
Following a detailed discussion with Dr. Leavitt, IOL options will be discussed. He will help you understand each type of IOL and which one will fit your vision goals.
Types of IOLs
Single Focus/Traditional Lenses
These lenses are often referred to as traditional, conventional or standard lenses. This is a single focus IOL, and by definition provides good vision correction for one distance only. That distance is pre-calculated for the lens before surgery.
Following cataract surgery with a traditional lens glasses will still be needed for computer work, reading and other close-up tasks. Patients with astigmatism may also require glasses to sharpen their distance vision.
This is an approach that uses the traditional lens but with a goal of minimizing the use of glasses for near. With this approach, one eye is chosen to have a visual outcome set for optimum distance vision, while the other eye has a target outcome for vision within arm’s length. This allows patients to carry out everyday functions both far and near with reduced dependency on reading glasses. Prolonged near work, small print and low lighting are situations that patients often feel they require additional help with and this often comes in the form of reading glasses.
Patients with astigmatism now have an option for clear vision after RLE (Refractive Lens Exchange) or cataract surgery. Toric lenses address astigmatism simultaneously with nearsightedness or farsightedness. This allows for an even further refined outcome for patients with moderate to high amounts of astigmatism. Not all patients with astigmatism will require a Toric IOL. Following your cataract evaluation and IOL measurements Dr. Leavitt will discuss if Toric IOLs would be a beneficial option for your eyes.
Advanced Technology IOLS
These lenses may be referred to as presbyopia-correcting lenses, premium IOLs, or New Technology IOLs. IOLs of this type allow for an even more precise approach to cataract surgery. With an Advanced Technology lens, vision at both distance and near can be achieved in each eye individually with minimal if any need for glasses. There are several types of Advanced Technology lenses; they fall into two categories: multi-focal IOLs and accommodative IOLs.
Multifocal IOLs achieve near and distance vision by having two or three focal points simultaneously. The function of the multifocal IOL depends on the pupil size. The concept is based on the principle that the pupil tends to constrict for near tasks, so the central portion of the lens is designed for near and the outer portion for distance.
The vast majority of multifocal IOL patients experience freedom from glasses for tasks such as driving, watching TV, using their cell phone and computer, looking at photos, reading magazines, price tags, product labels, receipts, and menus.
With bifocal glasses, you look through the top part of the lens for distance and through the bottom area of the lens for near. A multifocal IOL, designed using an advanced technology called diffractive and refractive optics, is entirely different, providing both a distance and near focus at all times. Your brain will learn to automatically select the focus that is appropriate for the task at hand. This phenomenon is much like having a conversation in a room where there is background music; the brain will “tune out” one to listen to the other. There is a learning curve for using this new, advanced technology. For example, patients often will have to learn the optimal distance or “sweet spot” for holding reading material as it will likely differ from what the patient was used to before surgery.
These offer the highest functionality of advanced IOLs. “Accommodation” refers to the ability of the eye to change focus using the small muscles that regulate the shape and position of the natural lens. As presbyopia advances, these muscles are less able to flex and move the lens.
Refractive Lens Exchange
Refractive Lens Exchange is used to describe the IOL implant procedure for patients who do not have advanced cataracts.
“Phakic” means the natural lens of the eye is left in place and a permanent internal contact lens is inserted. Phakic IOLs are not used in cases where cataracts are present. This technique can be used to treat a wide range of nearsightedness and farsightedness for people with very strong prescriptions or thin corneas that disqualify them from having LASIK.
Intraocular lenses (IOLs) are used regularly to cure patients of cataracts – now, they can even be used to help address astigmatism and presbyopia, which are vision problems associated with cataracts. Presbyopia is a condition where individuals, typically over the age of 40, have lost the ability to focus on objects up close. Astigmatism is when the cornea is misshapen, causing causes blurry and distorted vision. The latest in FDA-approved technology to correct these issues is the Tecnis Symfony® Intraocular Lens.
What is Symfony®?
The Tecnis Symfony® Intraocular Lens is a multifocal IOL that provides continuous high-quality vision following cataract surgery. The purpose is to improve visual acuity at any distance, simultaneously decreasing the effects of presbyopia to help people focus on near objects. This release also includes a version of the IOL lens for people with astigmatism. The lens is an improvement on the traditional monofocal IOLs being used, which are designed to improve distance vision at the expense of seeing things closer up.
The Symfony® Procedure
During surgery, the natural lens of the eye is removed, and the artificial lens (IOL), is inserted into the eye. The procedure is similar to a typical cataract surgery, where in most cases recovery time is minimal, with patients able to return to their usual routine just 24 hours after surgery.
What Are the Benefits of Symfony®?
Symfony® provides seamless day-to-night vision, with patients being able to see clearly at night at both near, far, and intermediate distances. Vision is high-quality regardless of distance, and any light issues related to glare or the “halo” effect, which are perceived as rings or blurring around bright lights, have been corrected with these lenses.
Want to learn more? Contact us at Bellevue LASIK & Cataract today to find out if Tecnis Symfony® Intraocular Lens is the right choice for you!