I had my one day post op after my second surgery. My vision was pretty blurry due to a bit of swelling on the cornea, so I’ve waited to share.
Now when you decide on having a “lifestyle lens,” you really have to think about how you spend your time and what your particular vision needs are. Myself, I work on a computer and interact with patients. Ok, that’s 40 hours of my week. Typically, I’m awake about 122 hours in a week, so that accounts for 1/3 of my time. Driving: an hour a day. Family time includes reading, watching television, board games. Weekends are your typical housekeeping chores. Hobbies? Making quilts! Accurately measuring, cutting, sewing and pressing. Hand sewing the bindings on finished quilts. For me, being able to thread a needle and follow a line of stitching was vital.
These Symfony lenses have the ability to let you see for reading, computer and driving. But super fine like I wanted required either cheaters (non-prescription magnifying glasses you find in a drug store) or, choosing a power for the implant that would provide that. Choosing that option may require glasses for driving. That is the choice I made.
Right now, I’m threading needles and hand sewing along that line of stitching!
My advice to those of you considering a Lifestyle lens? Evaluate your life! What are your visual needs? Communicate this to your surgeon. You may be an avid outdoor enthusiast, golfer, pilot or ham operator! Reading may be your passion. There’s as many lifestyles as there are people, each one unique and important.
I still have a couple weeks for my vision to stabilize, but right now I have what I can only describe as “normal” vision. I’m seeing what I want to see. How awesome is that?!?
Joyce Bowley joined The Harman Eye Clinic in 1995. Patients have happily passed through our surgery center under her warm, professional guidance. Now Joyce has discovered that cataracts have affected her lifestyle. By writing her experience as it unfolds, it is her hope that she can reach out to those who are undecided and yet concerned about their vision impacting daily life activities.
Cataract surgery. When I was growing up in the 60’s, I don’t remember hearing about it all that much, but I do remember “old” people with thick, coke-bottle glasses. If asked, they would tell you they’d had eye surgery and it was quite a big deal: in the hospital, sand bags to immobilize their head, no bending over or lifting. Surgery was a big deal.
Now, here we are 50 years later. So many changes. Cataract surgery is now an outpatient procedure. Clear Cornea surgery means smaller incisions & easier recovery. Intraocular implants mean no coke-bottle glasses and now can offer correction for astigmatism and provide multi focal vision.
I’ve been a witness to many of these advancements during the last 22 years working with the Surgeons at The Harman Eye Clinic.
Recently, I’ve started to notice that lights aren’t bright enough while I do hand sewing on my quilts. I’ve found myself avoiding driving at night because oncoming headlights almost blind me. (When you start and stop your work day in the dark, that’s a challenge!). When I looked at lights, they all had a starburst effect. A couple times during the day the sun would hit just right and I’d be momentarily blinded.
So, time for my eye exam! I’ve had “baby” cataracts for a few years. I’m only 61, but I’ve seen many, many patients my age and younger coming in for surgery. So the possibility of qualifying for surgery was the only concern. Well, turns out I did.
So now I’m on the schedule for both surgeries. I’m thrilled that I’ll be able to have the Tecnis Symfony lens implant. This will allow me to be less dependent on glasses, probably only needing readers to see fine print.
My hobbies are sewing, genealogy and reading. I’ve also been seen driving around Washington State with my camera, photographing the fantastic scenery, flowers, wildlife and quirky things that catch my eye. My job is computer work and face to face. The ability to do all this without glasses is perfect!
I’ll be sharing my personal experience of surgery and the adjustment to Symfony lenses in further posts. I’m not one to put my personal life online for all to know, but this is dear to my heart with my job, that I love.
Read more: Cataract Surgery – A Journal II
An extended depth of focus lens is an integral part of the Lifestyle Premium lens implant menu at The Harman Eye Clinic in Arlington WA.
“The Symfony® intraocular lens is the option of choice that I can offer my patients to improve their vision following cataract surgery, especially those who have difficulty focusing on objects at near distances because of presbyopia,” said Dr. Bajenova.
The Symfony® lens improves intermediate (and in many cases near vision), thereby treating presbyopia. The Symfony® toric lens not only corrects presbyopia, but also astigmatism.
“Many of my patients live very active lifestyles and want to see clearly at all distances, and without glasses if possible,” said Dr. Ballon. “With the Symfony® lens, I can give patients the freedom to enjoy the activities that matter to them, while wearing glasses less.”
Traditional Cataract Surgery compared to an Extended Depth of Focus lens
During cataract surgery, the natural lens of the eye is removed, and an artificial lens, called an intraocular lens, or IOL, is inserted into the eye. Many patients still believe the only IOL available to them is a traditional monofocal lens, which only allows the person to see at a distance, with closer objects being out of focus.
“We take extra time during a patient visit to explore IOL options,” said Dr. Wietharn. It takes more time with staff and myself to introduce new concepts but we think every patient should be aware before surgery, whether or not they wish to take advantage of state-of-the-art technology.”
In contrast to the traditional, standard IOL, the Symfony® lens was specifically developed with features to improve both the range and quality of vision.
The Importance of Pre-Surgical Discussions with your Surgeon
“There is nothing as good as the original equipment from the manufacturer when you are a teenager,” says Dr. Ballon. “That said, the Symfony® lens is the best addition to our lens inventory to date.”
Symfony® lens is successful because it provides a continuous range of focus for both distance and intermediate (computer) vision. Patients who continually require absolute fine detailed vision, such as accountants or those who like to read paper, small-print books in bed without glasses may appreciate a comparison discussion over Technis multifocal lens and Symfony®. These patients who have the Symfony® lens may choose over the counter reading glasses (+1.50 cheaters) for fine print. Others who require fine-print access leave behind need for reading glasses by using their computers, smart phones and pads, to do their reading in bed and fine print projects. It is important to discuss comparison options before surgery by sharing your lifestyle and vision expectations.
The Symfony® lens also offers excellent quality of vision without loss of contrast sensitivity. Some patients who may not be a candidate for the Tecnis Multifocal lens due to, say, an epiretinal membrane (wrinkle in the macula) which may decrease contrast sensitivity, for example, may still be a candidate for the Symfony® lens. Presently, it is the only lens on the market that corrects chromatic aberrations, a feature that improves reading ability. The rings are larger than the Tecnis Multifocal lens, so that halos at night are much less prominent. Patients under the age of 60 tend to tolerate the Symfony® lens much better than multifocal lenses. Although the Symfony® lens is designed for bilateral implantation, patients with a cataract in just one eye seem to tolerate the Symfony® lens well, but the full benefits of reading are best when it is implanted bilaterally.
A LifeStyle Worksheet is available for our patients so that they can prepare. Many patients come for cataract surgery consultations with little or no information about what we call LifeStyle lens implants. The Symfony® is one such lens. Much of the senior population have come to accept that glasses are a part of their life. Some will even say that they like wearing glasses. That is fine, if true. Patients who were eligible and chose to have a LifeStyle lens implant continue to tell us how grateful they are to get up in the morning, look out the window, read the time on their smart phone, and remember how good it is to see with little or no dependence on glasses.
TAKE AWAY POINTS:
- Extended depth of vision was approved by the FDA in 2016
- Symfony® and Symfony® toric lenses can extend depth of vision: far, intermediate, and near
- Symfony® and Symfony® toric lenses can offer quality of vision without loss of contrast sensitivity.
- The traditional lens implant for cataract surgery is a monofocal lens (vision for one point of vision). Reading glasses and glasses for intermediate vision is expected after surgery.
- To proceed with confidence, prepare by listing your lifestyle vision requirements and expectations before meeting your cataract surgeon.
Download our latest, comprehensive Patient’s Guide to Successful Cataract Surgery, or request an appointment for a cataract evaluation and your surgeon will be able to address your questions on an individual manner after your eyes have been examined with an overall evaluation of your health, life-style and vision potential. Call The Harman Eye Clinic in Arlington today, the first step to life without cataracts.
Prepare for your encounters with your doctor.
More and more medical offices are offering an on-line connection with private medical charting. At The Harman Eye Clinic in Arlington WA, we encourage patients to login to a secure online website to access personal health information from anywhere with an internet connection, and at any time of the day or night. Our staff will help you set this up during a phone call.
Even more important is the ability to supply your doctor with information PRIOR to your visit. Patients can register any time; most patients register when they schedule their appointment. You are able to enter information such as:
- Your medications with dosage and strength
- Your past medical history
- Insurance information and any recent changes in your patient demographics.
At The Harman Eye Clinic in Arlington WA, the Patient Portal records are your medical records This means that when you want your medical records, you no longer need to request them. They are always within reach.
Providing patient information updates, past medical histories and medication updates, certainly helps create a more satisfying visit.
What about cataract consultations?
As you may know, every medical surgery comes with a list of risks and benefits and it becomes the patient’s responsibility to become sufficiently informed in order to give their consent. If you first learn at your appointment that you are a candidate for cataract surgery, it can be stressful.
A way patients can make their consultation more meaningful is to watch the Informed Consent Video before they see their surgeon. At The Harman Eye Clinic in Arlington, WA, patients are encouraged to watch the video and learn about the different options in lens implants. Patients print out the quiz for their visit. They cut off about 15 minutes of their exam by watching this at home.
Best though, is the fact that when you finally meet up with your surgeon after numerous diagnostic measurements and testing, you will better understand your surgeon’s recommendation. It makes for a much more satisfying encounter. We recommend that if you are considering cataract surgery, you watch this video prior to coming to your consultation. You will be glad you did.
The Harman Eye Clinic
903 Medical Center Drive, Arlington WA 98223
360-474-2561 360-435-8595 FAX 360-435-5233
Our patients appreciate that we are leaders in cataract surgery technology. With the recent FDA approval, the Symfony lifestyle lens implant provides an extended depth-of-focus at near, distance and intermediate. Our surgeons are pleased to experience these wonderful results! Gerald Balamucki shares his impression just one day after surgery. Today he demonstrated the ability to read in the distance, intermediate and up close without glasses in the newly implanted eye.
The Harman Eye Clinic
903 Medical Center Drive, Arlington WA 98223
360-474-2561 360-435-8595 FAX 360-435-5233