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AcrySof ReSTOR IOL – Correction for Cataracts & Reading Vision

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The AcrySof ReSTOR IOL is a multifocal intraocular lens that was approved by the FDA in March 2005 for cataract eye surgery performed in the United States. The lens is marketed by Alcon, Inc. (Fort Worth, TX).

Eye surgeons can also implant the AcrySof ReSTOR multifocal IOL in patients who do not have cataracts and choose to have refractive lens exchange (RLE) surgery.

(As part of the FDA approval process, the manufacturer of an intraocular lens (IOL) or other medical device produces a "label" to explain its use. Once the device is approved by the FDA, physicians may use it "off-label" for other purposes if they are well-informed about the product, base its use on firm scientific method and sound medical evidence, and maintain records of its use and effects. AcrySof ReSTOR IOLs are FDA-approved for use in cataract surgery. Their use in patients having refractive lens exchange surgery is considered an "off-label" use.)

AcrySof ReSTOR IOL Design

The AcrySof ReSTOR lens has an "apodized diffractive" design which consists of concentric rings of very fine ridges that create zones that bend light differently to provide correction over a wide range of viewing distances.

"Apodized" (which literally means, "to remove the foot") means the sharp discontinuities in the concentric rings have been smoothed to create a more seamless optical system for seeing clearly at all distances. The difference between an apodized lens and one without apodization is similar to the difference between bifocal glasses that have a smooth transition between the near and distance lens zones and glasses without this smooth transition.

Diffractive optical systems function much like aspheric surfaces: Both reduce aberrations that can interfere with clear vision.

The AcrySof ReSTOR IOL is made of a flexible acrylic material that allows the lens to be folded and introduced into the eye in small-incision phacoemulsification cataract surgery.

Effectiveness of the AcrySof ReSTOR IOL

According to Alcon, a clinical study of the AcrySof ReSTOR multifocal IOL found:

  • 80 percent of patients having the IOL implanted in both eyes could see well without bifocals or reading glasses after surgery.
  • Nearly 94 percent of the patients having cataract surgery with the AcrySof ReSTOR IOL said, if given the choice, they would choose to have the lens implanted again.

Teaming AcrySof ReSTOR IOLs with Other Premium IOLs

Though patient satisfaction with AcrySof ReSTOR multifocal IOLs is very high, some people who have the lenses implanted may experience glare or reduced distance vision. The distance vision may suffer due to the many circular ridges in the lenses that bend light waves as they enter the eye. To overcome these issues and to give patients the best possible vision at all distances, some cataract surgeons choose to implant an AcrySof ReSTOR IOL in one eye and a different IOL in the other eye.

Often after surgery, a patient's vision improves as he or she adjusts to the new multifocal lens. But, if distance vision seems too compromised with an AcrySof ReSTOR IOL implanted in one eye after cataract surgery recovery, the surgeon may choose a premium monofocal IOL with aspheric optics in the other eye. The monofocal IOL with aspheric optics does not have the ridges that a ReSTOR lens has and thus provides excellent distance vision, just like a pair of glasses or contact lenses that have been prescribed solely to correct distance vision. This technique is referred to as modified monovision, and is weighted toward better distance vision than near vision.

Or, in some cases, a surgeon may choose to implant an AcrySof ReSTOR IOL in one eye and a different brand of multifocal IOL in the other eye for optimum combined vision at all distances.

AcrySof ReSTOR IOL Cost

According to a leading vision care industry analyst, most cataract surgeons in the U.S. charge approximately $3,500 to $5,000 per eye for AcrySof ReSTOR IOL surgery. This total fee includes all aspects of the procedure, including the lens and follow-up exams after surgery.

If you currently have Medicare or other health insurance that covers the cost of cataract surgery, with a conventional monofocal IOL, you can expect your out-of-pocket contribution for upgrading to the AcrySof ReSTOR multifocal IOL to be approximately $1,500 to $2,000 per eye.

You can lower your out-of-pocket costs for AcrySof ReSTOR IOLs by setting up a Health Savings Account (HSA) at your bank or contributing to flexible health benefits program at work. Many refractive surgeons also offer financing programs that allow you to cover IOLs costs, cataract surgery expenses, and PRK, LASEK and LASIK cost over pay for the procedure over time at attractive interest rates or interest-free over a limited time frame.

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.

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