Crystalens (by Bausch + Lomb) is a brand of intraocular lenses approved by the FDA to replace the natural eye lens extracted after cataract surgery. This IOL is unlike other types because it allows accommodation, which enables one to have sharper vision at different distances.
What Is Crystalens?
Crystalens is a kind of special and effective intraocular lenses.
The natural process of aging gradually affects one's ability to see clearly at various distances. This reduction in visual acuity for near objects is called presbyopia. In addition, the lens, which helps focus light, gradually becomes rigid and less able to change its shape while focusing on objects at different distances. The lenses become opaque and at an older age, many people need to have them removed by a procedure called cataract surgery. The natural lenses are often replaced by IOLs or intraocular lenses, which help correct one's vision.
If a monofocal type of IOL is used to replace your lens, you would be able to see far objects clearly. However, you will need to use reading glasses to make near vision sharper. With Crystalens, on the other hand, there would be no need to use reading glasses for near vision, because this type of lens allows accommodation for both near and far vision.
Crystalens, therefore, is a premium accommodating IOL, because it also helps correct presbyopia. It is worthwhile to mention that there is another type of lens, also by Bausch + Lomb, called Trulign, which is a toric variety of Crystalens, because it corrects astigmatism.
There are different versions of Crystalens that have been designed for different functions:
- Crystalens Model AT-45 (2003) - original version developed by eyeonics.
- Crystalens Five-O (2006) - enlarged version.
- Crystalens High-definition/HD (2008) - by Bausch + Lomb, with improved design that enables better near visual acuity with less glare or halos as side effects.
- Crystalens Aspheric Optic (2010) - elongated to improve one's contrast sensitivity and reduce distortion.
- Trulign (2013) - a modified Crystalens IOL, which corrects astigmatism.
Who Can Use Crystalens?
Best candidates for Crystalens use include:
- In general, accommodating IOLs such as Crystalens are best used by people who are farsighted (hyperopic) and have cataracts. These patients usually have problems with near vision and will benefit from using accommodating IOLs like Crystalens. On the other hand, Trulign is the best option for people who suffer from astigmatism and cataracts, to improve near vision, intermediate vision and distance vision.
- Another good candidate for Crystalens surgery is someone who had good vision before he developed presbyopia, for which reading glasses may be needed for near vision.
What Makes Crystalens Different from Multifocal IOLs?
Crystalens corrects presbyopia, just like other available brands of IOLs such as ReZoom and Tecnis by Abbott and AcrySof IQ ReSTOR by Alcon. However, these other brands are multifocals that work just like progressive lenses found in eyeglasses. They have different zones that help sharpen your vision at different distances (near, intermediate and far). However, contrast sensitivity is better with Crystalens, because you are able to see through one zone ("single vision") instead of multiple zones.
Accommodating lenses like Crystalens can provide crisper vision than multifocal IOLs and they are less likely to have side effects such as glares and halos. However, Crystalens may not provide a wide range of focus as multifocal IOLs, which may lead you to use reading glasses.
Accommodating and multifocal types of IOLs have their unique advantages as well as disadvantages. Consult an eye surgeon to determine which type of IOL you need to correct your vision problems.
Considerations on Crystalens and Cataract Surgery
Cataract surgery and IOL insertion are common eye procedures that are often safe and effective in correcting vision problems related to aging. However, just like any type of surgery, cataract surgery may involve some complications. These include:
- Imperfect vision. Accommodating IOLs can improve your vision at wide ranges but visual acuity may not be perfect.
- Problems with night vision. These include seeing halos and glare.
- Astigmatism. This refractive error may develop during healing because of subtle changes in the IOL position.
- Clouding of the lens capsule. The posterior capsule of the lens may become opaque, causing cloudy vision. This may be corrected with YAG laser capsulotomy
Another point to consider is the cost of using accommodating IOLs like Crystalens, which may reach $2,500 for each eye.
Consult your eye doctor for the best option in choosing whether to use the monofocal, presbyopia-correcting or multifocal IOLs.