How does the TECNIS™ IOL work?
To understand how the TECNIS™ IOL works, it is necessary to understand how the eye functions and how cataracts develop. The eye has two parts that work together to focus light: the cornea and the crystalline lens. Light first passes through the cornea, the outer covering on the front of eye. This light is then focused on the back of the eye by the natural crystalline lens.
As people age, proteins in the crystalline lens clump together and the lens becomes clouded. This clumping is the cataract. With a cataract, light no longer focuses precisely, and vision gradually deteriorates over time as the cataract grows. Symptoms of cataracts can include blurred vision, halos around lights, and faded colors.
Cataracts can also cause a loss of vision at night or in low-light environments, and can greatly increase sensitivity to bright lights at night. A person may need to frequently update the prescription of his or her eyeglasses due to cataracts.
The TECNIS™ Procedure
The TECNIS™ IOL is a clear intraocular lens (IOL) that replaces the eye’s natural crystalline lens and restores vision, including nighttime vision, to a level likely not experienced by the patient since young adulthood. The TECNIS™ IOL procedure is relatively simple and is performed on an outpatient basis with a local anesthetic.
During the procedure, the eye surgeon makes a tiny incision to the eye. The surgeon breaks up the cataract with ultrasound waves. The minute pieces of the crystalline lens are then vacuumed from the eye. The surgeon then places the TECNIS™ IOL in the eye where the crystalline lens previously sat, thus completing the surgical procedure. There is very little or no pain during the TECNIS™ IOL procedure, and recovery time is quick. While some people notice vision improvement immediately, most will notice clearer vision the following day.
TECNIS™ IOL Risks and Benefits
As with any surgery, there are some risks associated with the TECNIS™ IOL procedure. Though rare, the eye may react adversely to the intraocular lens, resulting in infection, inflammation, and/or thinning of the cornea. It is possible that prescription glasses or contact lenses may be necessary in some situations after placement of TECNIS™ IOLs.
The unique design of the TECNIS™ IOL provides benefits beyond other IOLs. Prior to creating the patented TECNIS™ IOL, optical engineers using Wavefront™ technology scanned the corneas and crystalline lenses of a representative population sample. Using these extremely accurate measurements, the engineers created a lens that, unlike other intraocular lenses, addresses spherical aberration in the cornea. As a result, the TECNIS™ IOL was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The TECNIS™ IOL allows for vision correction far superior to traditional lenses, correction comparable to the vision of a young adult. Though some TECNIS™ IOL patients may require corrective lenses in some situations after their procedure, most will enjoy excellent vision. The haziness and blurred vision of cataracts disappear, and color vision returns to full saturation. Controlled studies have shown that the TECNIS™ IOL provides up to a 31 percent improvement in contrast sensitivity in normal light conditions compared to traditional lenses.
Perhaps most impressive is the improvement in night vision with the TECNIS™ IOL. Studies showed that patients enjoy up to a 53 percent improvement in contrast sensitivity in low-light conditions over traditional lenses. Ability to detect a pedestrian while driving at night was significantly greater with the TECNIS™ IOL in direct comparison with a control lens. Many TECNIS™ IOL patients report that after their procedure they regain confidence to drive at night.