Crystalens IOL Correction for Cataracts & Reading Vision
Crystalens is an accommodating IOL designed to correct presbyopia as well as nearsightedness and farsightedness.
This premium intraocular lens can be inserted in the eye as part of refractive cataract surgery for people who already have cataracts, or it can be used in refractive lens exchange (RLE) for people who don't yet have cataracts and wish to have lens-based vision correction surgery with little or no need for reading glasses after surgery.
Crystalens does not correct astigmatism, but if residual astigmatism remains after the Crystalens procedure, it can be eliminated with one of several other refractive surgery options, including standard LASIK, wavefront LASIK (also called custom LASIK), or PRK surgery.
Currently, Crystalens is the only accommodating IOL that is FDA-approved for use in refractive or cataract surgery in the United States. The lens is manufactured and distributed by Bausch & Lomb (Rochester, NY).
The Crystalens Procedure
The Crystalens accommodating IOL is inserted into the eye using the same technique used to insert a traditional intraocular lens during cataract surgery. This is true whether the Crystalens is used for refractive cataract surgery or RLE.
(The only difference in the two procedures is that in cataract surgery the natural lens that is removed is cloudy, and in refractive lens exchange the removed lens is still clear.)
The actual surgery takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes, and it is performed as an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia. So you are awake during the procedure and can go home as soon as the surgery is finished.
Most people can return to their normal routine the day after surgery and can see well enough to function without glasses almost immediately. However, it can take several months before a person fully adapts to multifocal vision with the Crystalens IOL and attains the best vision possible with the lens implant.
Crystalens HD: The newest Crystalens IOL
In July 2008, Bausch & Lomb introduced its new Crystalens HD to the U.S. market. Crystalens HD represents the fourth generation of Crystalens IOLs, replacing the Crystalens Five-O model, which was used implanted into the eyes of over 100,000 patients.
The optic (the central portion of the lens that corrects vision) of the new Crystalens HD offers an enhanced depth of focus and is designed to improve near vision without compromising intermediate or distance vision or inducing glare or night vision problems, says Bausch & Lomb.
In the clinical study required for FDA approval, the Crystalens HD was implanted in 125 eyes of patients who had a visually significant cataract, less than 1.00 diopter of corneal astigmatism, and the potential for best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) of 20/25 or better in both eyes. Of the 67 subjects who were within ± 0.50 D of intended target, 80 percent achieved the equivalent of 20/20 or better reading vision within six months of surgery.
Are You a Candidate for Crystalens IOL?
If you are an acceptable candidate for cataract surgery or refractive lens exchange, you typically will also be a good candidate for a Crystalens IOL.
If you are considering Crystalens IOL surgery, it's important to have realistic expectations about the outcome of the procedure. The Crystalens IOL cannot restore your near vision to the same level it was in your 20s and 30s, and other age-related changes in the eye may continue to affect your visual acuity after surgery.
You still may need reading glasses after Crystalens surgery for certain near vision tasks. A realistic expectation is that you will be less dependent on reading glasses after Crystalens IOL surgery, and that you may be able to see adequately without glasses for a good part of your day.
In some cases, a Crystalens IOL may be properly implanted, but cannot move within the eye in response to focusing effort because of problems with other structures within the eye. In these cases, the Crystalens IOL will still function as a conventional IOL for good distance vision.
Cost of Crystalens IOLs
Crystalens IOLs are premium intraocular lenses and cost significantly more than a conventional IOLs and most insurance policies will not cover the full cost of the lens. If you need cataract surgery and choose a Crystalens implant over a conventional (monofocal) IOL, typically you will be responsible to pay the surgeon the difference between the cost of the Crystalens IOL and the dollar amount your insurance policy allows for a conventional IOL. Ask your cataract surgeon for details.
Note: This information is for general education purposes only. It is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice from your eye doctor or refractive surgeon.