New intraocular lens helps cataract-affected see better

Abbott Laboratories has announced a new `intraocular lens', which it says uses a revolutionary technology that would enable doctors offer people with cataracts a continuous range of high-quality functional vision for far, intermediate, and near distances.

It said its 'Tecnis Symfony IOL' is the first-of-its-kind presbyopia-correcting lens designed to reduce the need for spectacles and provide a significant advancement over traditional IOL technologies.

The   lens is designed to increase the distance over which an object appears in focus across a continuous range of distances, without sacrificing a person's visual clarity or contrast.

" 'Tecnis Symfony' combines two complementary proprietary technologies to deliver an unparalleled, extended range of vision and enhanced contrast sensitivity," Abbott said in a statement.

"The diffractive Echelette design feature introduces a novel pattern of light diffraction that elongates the focus of the eye resulting in an extended range of vision while the achromatic technology corrects chromatic aberration for enhanced contrast, providing crisp vision and vibrant colours," it added.

The `Tecnis Symfony' Extended Range of Vision IOL' reduces the incidence of halo and glare, comparable to a standard monofocal lens, enabling better vision, the statement said.
 
Halos are bright circles that appear to surround a source of light, such as an oncoming car's headlights. Glare is light that enters the eye but doesn't help one see better. Rather, it interferes with vision. Glares can be uncomfortable as the extra brightness may result in squinting and tears in the eye.

''As people age, the inability to focus and see clearly is a major challenge. Constantly handling glasses can be cumbersome. The Symfony IOL now offers vision correction for life. Post cataract surgery, patients have reported getting back vision which mimics the vision they had in their youth,'' said Dr Ramamurthy, chairman, The Eye Foundation, Coimbatore.

Studies in Europe and New Zealand have demonstrated significant improvement in visual acuity with the Tecnis Symfony IOL, where a majority of people reported being able to perform daily activities without spectacles, at far, intermediate and near distances, Abbott said in a release.

''The people who come to us for cataract surgery are mostly in their 50s and 60s. They still have an active lifestyle, drive regularly, use computers every day and rely on mobile devices. For them, this technology provides better clarity at near, intermediate and far distances, without having to wear spectacles,'' said Dr Sri Ganesh, chairman and MD, Nethradhama Super Speciality Hospital, Bangalore.

Cataracts require replacing the clouded natural lens in the eye with an intraocular lens (IOL). Intraocular lenses may correct presbyopia (poor ability to focus on near objects), or offer quality vision only at distinct distances, such as near and far, while vision between these distances may be reduced.

With almost a third of the world's cataract procedures estimated to be occurring in India, and with elders having more active lifestyles, the demand for newer technologies that offer better functional vision and independence from spectacles is increasing, the release noted.

Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries in India, with over 6.2 million procedures in 2013-141. The condition is also the leading cause of blindness, according to the National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB).