Sunday, December 4, 2011

Crystalens® Lens Implant Side Effects & Complications

Question: I am a candidate for cataract surgery and am thinking about the Crystalens implant. However, I've read some horror stories in reviews by people who have had this particular implant, ie, spiderwebs, flashing lights, poorer night and color vision. My questions are: 1) are these problems typical with Crystalens; and are there other accommodating IOL technologies to consider, even if it means waiting a few months?

Answer: First, as authors of peer reviewed digital content for ophthalmology we are constantly shocked by the state of web publishing in which patients, competitors and unknowing content sources are able to simply write unedited, unverified and simply incorrect material and post it as "meaningful" reviews that you and others are apt to take or even consider as factually correct. It is a real shame that Google Places, Bing, Insider Pages, Vitals and thousands of other "review sites" allow reviews to be posted regarding medical practice sites, physicians and medical devices as if they were reviews of restaurants or bowls of pasta. Medicine and the associated outcomes of the practice of medicine are subject to considerable degrees of complexity and influence by factors that "reviews" simply just cannot contemplate.

Second, while it is commendable that you are doing research and have become interested in "selecting" a lens implant-we pose the following question to ALL patients-do you have the breadth of understanding or the appreciation measurement nuances and surgical skill required that TOGETHER with a specific type of lens implant can produce certain results-OR are you looking at selecting a Lens Implant by "reviewing" manufacturers "marketing hype" or online chit chat? Medical devices, especially implantable medical devices, provide their reported outcomes and results when used by experienced and skilled physicians for patients who have been selected as good candidates for THAT DEVICE by that physician.

It is NOT the other way around-like buying running shoes-where the user or patient decides if the device or product sounds good and then goes and buys it.

The Cataract Surgeon and the Cataract Surgery procedure used by that eye surgeon have a huge impact on the results of the Cataract removal itself as well as the implantation and functioning of the Lens Implant. Further, the preoperative condition of the eye and its internal structures-independent of a type of Lens Implant-also impact results and outcome. These are just some of the reasons believing ANYTHING you read in "reviews" about surgery procedures, devices or products is IRRELEVANT.

With apologies for the long windedness of this response, here is what you need to know about your question. The side effects you noted i.e spider webs, flashing lights, poorer night and color vision are NOT reported any more frequently with Crystalens® than with any other type of Lens Implant including Multifocal Lens Implants. In fact what you are describing may very well be side effects of the Cataract Surgery itself and NOT have anything to do with any type of Lens Implant.

That said, near vision presbyopia correcting lens implants from different manufacturers are fabricated in varying optical designs-some are accommodating like Crystalens® whereas others use complex optics to achieve their "multifocal" effect. Each one has its own set of "tradeoffs" and compromises. Through a careful evaluation, measurements and consultation with a top Cataract Surgeon THEY should be able to discuss your particular lifestyle needs and vision correction goals after Cataract Surgery AND based on the eye examination, suggest one or more types of Lens Implants that can help you get to those goals.

Lens Implants are not like running shoes-you can't pick a brand and then go in and get "sized". They function differently and require matching the performance, optical characteristics of your eyes, your lifestyle and activity requirements. Finally, if you really think you want an accommodating Lens Implant and are concerned about what you are seeing in "reviews", there will be other accommodating Lens Implants available in the coming months or years that may or may not be better than Crystalens®. Only time will tell. In this sense you would be wise to use "best car buying practices" and NOT buy the first model year!

Important Note: The information presented on the About Cataract Surgery Blog or provided in response to a request for information in the Ask Cataract Surgeons section on is not intended to diagnose or treat eye problems, eye conditions or eye diseases including appropriateness of treatment, risks, complications or side effects as related to Cataracts, Cataract Surgery of Lens Implants. In particular a response to an inquiry made on the Ask Cataract Surgeons section of is not meant to take the place of the professional medical care provided by your eye doctor, ophthalmologist and Cataract Surgeon surgeon. Contacting us via e-mail or any other means is not a substitute for medical care.

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