Modern Symfony®

Extended range of focus helps people see close up and at a distance.

Photos by Nerissa Johnson.

Frank now has a clear vision of his retirement.

Philadelphia native Frank Armstrong has worn contact lenses since he was 12 years old. Over the years, his eyesight progressively deteriorated, and his lens prescription became stronger and stronger. After his retirement two years ago, Frank noticed his vision was no longer sharp, even with his contacts.
“It started getting bad, especially at night, when my vision was unclear,” he describes. “Seeing was a challenge, and I became less confident in my ability to see well enough to drive at night.
“I saw halos, and the brightness of the headlights from the cars coming toward me would wash everything out. I couldn’t see anything and almost had to guess where I was on the road.
“I also like to read, and I was having to rely a lot on reading glasses, which I find terribly inconvenient. I would be constantly putting them on and taking them off.”
When Frank went to his eye doctor, the doctor suspected Frank had cataracts and referred him to James N. McManus, MD, of The Eye Institute for Medicine & Surgery in Melbourne. Dr. McManus confirmed the cataract diagnosis and scheduled Frank for surgery. Before the procedure, they discussed replacement lenses for Frank’s cloudy natural lenses.
“I did my research and noted that with some of the lenses, I would have to lean on reading glasses a lot,” states Frank. “When Dr. McManus said there was a new type of lens that would enable me to read without glasses, I opted for that. That was the main driving force for me to select the Tecnis Symfony lens.”

“It was quite a revelation, after wearing contacts for most of my life, to see very clearly when I woke up in the morning and not need to think about contacts.”
– Frank

The Symfony lens is among the latest generation of multifocal lenses, which are lenses that allow patients to see at more than one distance. Older generation multifocal lenses enabled patients to see in the distance and up close, but they proved to be less effective in providing clear vision in the intermediate range, which is so important for today’s active people.
“The intermediate distance is essentially the working range,” notes Dr. McManus. “This is the distance for people to look at their cells phones, the speedometer and dashboard in their cars, and their computers. This distance is usually not well treated with conventional multifocal lenses.
“The Symfony allows patients to have what’s called blended vision or extended depth of focus. It enables patients to see distant and intermediate ranges. The Symfony decreases the patient’s dependency on corrective lenses, so it was a good option for Frank.”

Seeking Expertise

Snowbird Barbara Arnold spends most of the year in Melbourne, but returns to her native Maine for the summer months. The last time she was there, she saw her eye doctor for a routine examination. This time, though, she had some new symptoms to report.Photos by Nerissa Johnson.
“I’ve had poor eyesight my whole life,” Barbara relates. “I was one of those kids who wore big, thick glasses. Then, when I was a teenager, I got contact lenses. But I always struggled to have good vision.
“Last summer, I noticed my vision was blurry, and I wasn’t able to see like I used to. I was having trouble driving at night because of the blurriness and glare. I made an appointment for a new prescription, but my eye doctor told me I had cataracts.”
The doctor in Maine offered to do the surgery, but Barbara wanted a surgeon who specializes in cataract surgery to do her procedure. A friend was a patient of Jason K. Darlington, MD, at The Eye Institute for Medicine & Surgery and highly recommended him. When she returned to Florida, Barbara made an appointment with Dr. Darlington.
“Dr. Darlington explained my situation and then talked to me about the different types of replacement lenses available,” says Barbara. “He wanted to make sure I was well-informed as to the choices available. But he left the decision up to me. I really gave it some thought, and I picked the Symfony lens.”
Barbara had a secondary issue affecting her vision. In addition to cataracts, she also had a great deal of astigmatism, a defect in the curvature of the cornea. This caused her to be completely dependent on glasses for every aspect of her visual needs. In the past, multifocal lens implants could not correct astigmatism.

“It’s amazing. I’ve never seen this well before. Now, I don’t need glasses or contacts for anything.” – Barbara

“Barbara had a great deal of astigmatism in both eyes,” confirms Dr. Darlington. “Just a few years ago, her lens implant options would have been quite limited. She would likely still need glasses for both distance and near vision. Today, the options have improved with the newer-technology lenses.
“One benefit of the Symfony lens is that it not only provides extended range of vision, it also treats astigmatism. With this lens, we do not have to make extra incisions in the eye to reshape the cornea and correct the astigmatism.”

Life Without Glasses

The procedures to remove Frank’s and Barbara’s cataract-laden natural lenses and replace them with Symfony lens implants made a big difference in both their lives.
“After my procedures, my eyes were 20/20 in one eye and 20/15 in the other – basically perfect vision,” marvels Frank. “It was quite a revelation, after wearing contacts for most of my life, to see very clearly when I woke up in the morning and not need to think about contacts.
“The Symfony lenses have made a big difference. I don’t wear reading glasses anymore. I don’t even carry reading glasses. I can read everything I need to read and want to read without them.”
Barbara also experienced successful results after her cataract procedures. She says she’s still in shock because the improvement in her vision was apparent so quickly after surgery.
“The next day, I had 20/20 vision,” she enthuses. “It’s amazing. I’ve never seen this well before. Now, I don’t need glasses or contacts for anything. I can read. I can see long distance and up close. The blurriness is totally gone. I have great vision now.
“Dr. Darlington and the staff at The Eye Institute for Medicine and Surgery are very friendly. Getting cataract surgery with the Symfony lenses is one of the best things to ever happen to me.”

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