What is the Crystalens® IOL?
What is a Lens Implant?
A cataract is the clouding of the natural lens in the eye that occurs with age. During cataract surgery, the natural lens is removed and replaced with a man-made lens (an intraocular lens implant or IOL). A traditional standard lens implant (monofocal IOL) has a single focus point. This sets vision without glasses at either distance or near. Glasses can then be used to provide sharp vision at all distances. More advanced technology lenses, such as the Crystalens, provide a broader range of focus without glasses. This makes patients much less dependent on glasses.
What is a Crystalens® Implant?
The Crystalens is a type of lens implant (IOL) that is designed to help patients see better with less need for glasses. It is designed to work somewhat like your eye’s natural lens, using the muscles that cause the natural lens to change shape. In cataract surgery using the Crystalens, the natural lens is removed, and just as in standard cataract surgery, the IOL is placed in the capsule that held the natural lens. Tiny muscles in the eye cause this capsule to change shape. The Crystalens is unique in that its structure flexes and changes shape when these tiny muscles contract and relax. This changes the focus of the lens allowing you to see a broader range of distances without glasses. It simulates the action of the natural lens in the eye accommodating to change focus. It is the only FDA approved lens that works this way – the only accommodating IOL. While there are multifocal lenses available that also provide a range of focus, they work without changing shape and instead have rings of varying power.
How do I know if I am a Candidate for a Crystalens IOL?
When evaluating a patient for cataract surgery, we do a variety of measurements and scans of the eye including corneal mapping, ultrasound measurements of the size and shape of the eye, and a macular scan. If there is excessive astigmatism in the cornea (an irregularity in the curvature of the surface of the eye), a Trulign Toric IOL can be used. This lens is identical to the Crystalens, but also has astigmatism correction.
One key advantage of the Crystalens is that it can be used in patients who have underlying eye conditions. While multifocal IOLs (such as the ReSTOR or Tecnis IOLs) are not well suited to eyes that have vision loss from macular degeneration or macular wrinkling, the Crystalens can be used in these eyes in some cases. The limiting factor in the visual outcome is still the overall health status of the eye, but if the underlying condition is not severe, these patients can still achieve a range of focus with the Crystalens. Every patient is different, so this is an issue we discuss in detail with each patient so that their expectations are in line with the vision that we think this lens can provide for them.
What are the Side Effects of the Crystalens IOL?
The Crystalens design and shape are a little different from a standard IOL. The lens, however, is inserted in the same way as a standard IOL, so the surgery does not carry added risk. The lens itself is a tiny bit smaller than the average standard IOL, so there is a small risk of glare from the edge of the IOL in a patient with a large pupil. This is rarely a significant issue, and most patients adapt quite well. We find that the uncorrected reading vision (i.e. the reading vision without glasses) is not as good as with the multifocal IOLs (ReSTOR and Tecnis), but there is usually more range of focus than with a standard IOL. Patients may need reading glasses for longer periods of reading, but they are often independent of glasses for many activities. We recommend this lens implant for patients who wish to be more independent of glasses but also have a mild underlying macular condition that precludes use of a multifocal IOL.
Want to Learn More?
Visit the official Crystalens website at crystalens.com
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