FDA Approves First Intraocular Lens with Extended Range of Vision for Cataract Patients


Cataracts are a common eye condition where the natural lens becomes clouded, impairing a patient’s vision. According to the National Eye Institute, more than 20% of Americans will have cataracts by the age of 65, and the prevalence increases with age. In cataract surgery, the clouded natural lens is removed and replaced with an intraocular lens (IOL).


The FDA has approved the first IOL that provides cataract patients with an extended depth-of-focus, which helps improve their sharpness of vision (visual acuity) at near, intermediate and far distances. Traditional monofocal IOLs have been limited to improving distance vision. The Tecnis Symfony IOL improves visual acuity at close, intermediate and far ranges and, therefore, may reduce the need for patients to wear contact lenses or glasses after cataract surgery.


The approval is based on a review of results from a randomized clinical trial comparing 148 cataract patients implanted with the Tecnis Symfony IOL to 151 cataract patients implanted with a monofocal IOL. The study evaluated visual acuity at near, intermediate and far ranges; contrast sensitivity (the ability to distinguish small differences between light and dark); and adverse events for six months after implantation. Of the patients implanted with the Tecnis Symfony IOL, 77% had good vision (20/25), without glasses at intermediate distances, compared to 34% of those with the monofocal IOL. For near distances, patients with the Tecnis Symfony IOL were able to read two additional, progressively smaller lines on a standard eye chart than those with the monofocal IOL. Both sets of patients had comparable results for good distance vision.


Patients implanted with the Tecnis Symfony IOL may experience worsening of or blurred vision, bleeding or infection. The device may also cause reduced contrast sensitivity that becomes worse under poor visibility conditions such as dim light or fog. Some patients may experience visual halos, glare or starbursts. The device is not intended for use on patients who have had previous trauma to their eye.


The Tecnis Symfony Extended Range of Vision IOL, manufactured by Abbott Medical Optics, Inc. of Santa Ana, California, and is also available in four toric models, which are indicated for the reduction of residual refractive astigmatism or imperfections in the curvature of the eye.



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