INTRODUCING THE TECNIS® SYMFONY INTRAOCULAR LENS (IOL)
The FDA approval of the TECNIS® Symfony Intraocular Lens (IOL) is great news for people with cataracts hoping for more flexible focus after cataract surgery. Past generations of lens implants were primarily monofocal, allowing clarity at a single range: far away, close up or in the middle.
The TECNIS® Symfony IOL is the first extended range of vision IOL. It often allows a broader range of focus from distance (i.e. driving) to arms length (i.e. computer). If implanted in both eyes the focus range can be customized, making one eye more driving dominant and the other more reading dominant with their focusing ranges overlapping. With this approach in the Concerto study spectacle independence was high and only 14.4% of individuals required reading spectacles frequently.1
It is implanted during regular cataract surgery and can deliver a continuous broader range of high quality vision. Previous generations of mutifocal IOL’s created separate distance and near focal points with a significant incidence of poor contrast, haloes and glare. While the Symfony lens may have more incidence of glare, haloing, starbursts and other light related phenomena than monofocal IOL’s, the incidence is substantially lower than for multifocals. Ninety percent of Symfony patients report no or mild haloes or other light phenomena.1
The Symfony lens is approved in more than 50 countries around the world, and has been widely studied, with data from numerous clinical studies involving over 2,000 eyes. In clinical studies, the Symfony lens:
The Symfony lens has a very high patient satisfaction rating.In the European Concerto Study more than 91% would recommend the lens to their friends and family and 94% would choose the same IOL again.2
Some patients with the Symfony IOL may experience halos, glare or starbursts around lights. These halos are usually different from and usually less problematic than those typically caused by cataracts. If haloes occur, they usually become less noticeable and distracting over time as the brain learns to selectively ignore them through a process called neuroadaptation. This is the same process that allows us to ignore background noise such as traffic sounds or an air conditioning fan. How quickly these adjustments are made by the brain varies for different individuals. Experience has shown that neuroadaptation is a gradual process that occurs over several months. Some individuals can have persistent night haloing and other light related phenomena which remain bothersome, although this is not common.
Much like contact lenses or glasses, the Symfony IOL comes in more than 60 different “powers.” As with prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses, it is important to match the appropriate IOL power to your eye. When prescribing eyeglasses or contact lenses, we utilize trial and error to preview different lens powers to determine which one you see best with (“Which one is better, one or two?”). However, because the Symfony IOL is implanted inside the eye, and only after your natural lens (cataract) has been removed, it is impossible for you to “preview” various IOL powers prior to surgery. Furthermore, once it is implanted we cannot as easily exchange the IOL as we could with glasses or contact lenses.
Fortunately, an appropriate IOL power can often be estimated using advanced mathematical formulas based on pre-operative measurements of your eye’s dimensions. Although these formulas are quite accurate in most patients, there are individual variables that prevent this process from being 100%. In particular, individuals who are extremely nearsighted, farsighted, or have high amounts of astigmatism, and patients who have had previous refractive surgery (e.g. RK, PRK, LASIK), are more likely to end up with an IOL power that is not as optimal because the mathematical formulas are based on average sized eyes, not extremes or eyes that have had previous surgery. No type of lens implant guarantees glasses free vision. Any individual, even with extended focus IOL’s, can still need glasses or contact lenses some of the time or all of the time. Less common ways to adjust focus after cataract surgery/lens implantation would include additional surgery such as LASIK to refine corneal focusing power or removal and replacement of the lens implant; each has added potential risks and we generally recommend adaptation and optical correction rather than additional surgery.
There’s more to having cataract surgery than just getting rid of the cataract. Equally important is the goal of optimizing the quality of your vision.
With cataract surgery, making sure you make the right choice for your vision and lifestyle includes understanding your lens implant options. At CNY Eye Physicians and Surgeons, we feel the Symfony IOL is an exciting advance. Make an appointment with one of our ophthalmologists to see if you are a candidate for cataract surgery. We will provide you with an individualized treatment plan to help you understand and work toward your vision goals. Call us today at (315) 735-8358 to schedule your cataract consultation!
1. Pedrotti E, et al. Comparative Analysis of the Clinical Outcomes With a Monofocal and an Extended Range of Vision Intraocular Lens.J Refract Surg. 2016 Jul 1;32(7):436-42.
2. Cochener B. Clinical outcomes of a new extended range of vision intraocular lens: International Multicenter Concerto Study.J Cataract Refract Surg. 2016 Sep;42(9):1268-1275.