Premium IOLs are available to the majority of our cataract surgery candidates. However, patients with significant astigmatism may not fall within the current candidate parameters. The MEC surgeons working with these lenses may be able to identify during the exam those patients who are not candidates for the lenses, although pre-operative measurements will provide a definitive answer. Because cataract surgery is rarely an emergency, the surgeon and patient may agree to postpone surgery until the patient has time to decide which lens options is best for him or her.
Several lens manufacturers offer a toric IOL to correct for astigmatism, which is an irregular shape of the cornea. Approximately 20% of Americans have some level of astigmatism, and the condition will cause blurry vision as it becomes more pronounced. A toric IOL can be used to correct a patient’s astigmatism and provider very good distance vision. When you look at your eyeglass prescription – for example, a prescription of –1.25 x +1.50 x 105 – the middle number represents the amount of astigmatism in your eye. In this example, the patient has 1.5 diopters of astigmatism. Patients do not always have the same amount of astigmatism in both eyes, but they are generally within one diopter. The insertion of a toric IOL is no more difficult than regular cataract surgery.
Symfony multi-focal IOL by Tecnis
As noted above, ‘accommodation’ is the term used to describe the flexing of the lens within the eye to change focus between near and far objects, and only a patient’s natural lens is typically able to accommodate. The Symfony lens, approved by the FDA in March 2016, utilizes an IOL design that incorporates different strengths of vision correction throughout the lens. Because the Symfony lens is not attached to the muscles within the eye, cataract surgery with the Symfony lens is virtually identical to traditional cataract surgery in terms of technical difficulty.
This type of lens, featuring different corrections, is called a multi-focal lens. Tecnis also has developed a Symfony toric lens for patients with natural astigmatism, so after surgery patients will often able to see well in the distance without the aid of eyeglasses.