One of the most popular intraocular lenses (IOLs) that I implant is the Tecnis Symfony lens by Johnson and Johnson Vision (formerly American Medical Optics and then Abbot Medical Optics). The Tecnis Symfony IOL is the first and only extended depth of focus lens currently on the market and will correct the vision in patients both with and without astigmatism.
The Tecnis Symfony lens is not a multifocal lens. A multifocal lens works by spitting light into separate distinct focal points on the retina. Your brain then learns to use the appropriate focal point depending on your activity. In contrast, the Tecnis Symfony IOL transmits light over a range of distances creating an elongated focus, hence the term, extended depth of focus. This help provides good intermediate vision with some near vision and less incidence of glare and halo and less disturbance of distance vision than a true multifocal lens.
Patients who elect the Tecnis Symfony IOL need to understand that they may require reading glasses for prolonged close work or reading smaller print. If you cannot bear the thought of using reading glasses for any activity then the Tecnis Symfony lens is NOT for you. Patients who spend a lot of time using iPhones, iPads and other electronic devices enjoy the vision provided by the Symfony lens.
The lens provides excellent distance and intermediate vision with an improved level of near vision but it does not replaces glasses for prolonged or fine close work. Those who do a lot of work at close range may prefer a multifocal lens. Golfers and tennis players are especially good candidates for the extended depth of focus lens because they don’t want to lose track of the ball as it travels. In my experience, patients who elect the Symfony lens find that the neuroadaptation process continues for at least the first three months. As a result, our patients are often happier three months out from surgery than their first week or two!
We tell our patients that this is a great lens for those who want to wear their glasses LESS. Most patients will be able to see distance nicely as well as their computer and their dashboard. You may find that you still need glasses for reading in some conditions but you will have excellent vision for activities done on a daily basis.
We always tell patients that we cannot give them their 20 to 30-year-old eyes back but with today’s technology, we can provide great distance and intermediate vision with improved near vision. We can address your astigmatism and we can use a laser for the procedure. Not every patient is eligible for all of this advanced technology so if you are, congratulations!
Many patients ask about cost. Many things in medicine are often not covered by insurance such as specialized hearing aids and dental implants and such is the case with premium intraocular lenses such as the Tecnis Symfony IOL. However, with added cost comes added value! In particular, patients will have a fuller range of high-quality vision and will be able to wear glasses less often after premium IOL surgery. You are making a choice for the rest of your life that impacts you on a daily basis. So, if you spread the cost out over the rest of your life, what is that worth from a value perspective?
David H. Aizuss, M.D.