Saturday, August 23, 2014

The story of the Symfony lens

About 2 months ago I was chatting with my parents on Facetime. I had helped my father with his cataract surgery in February/March earlier this year (fortunately everything went fine!) and naturally they were still quite in tune with things happening in this area of medicine.

My mum goes, 'Have you heard of the Symfony lens?'

I went,'Umm, sorry, you mean the Synchrony lens? I've never heard of the Symfony lens.'

Then she went on to point me to the Daily Mail webpage on the Symfony lens:

I was a little taken aback, because there had been no heads up from the company producing the lens implant. (And I was the supposed eye expert in the family too!)

The aforementioned company had previously  bought over the rights to a lens called the Synchrony accommodating lens implant, however, this had been delayed and then from the looks of things, shelved. (after paying a lot of money...)

In any case, this lens didn't look much different from the currently available diffractive multifocal lenses such as the Tecnis multifocal lens. So my mum asks me: 'wah, so this lens can see far and near without having any halos...'. And I went, 'but it has rings, so the patient will have halos...'. And my mum says, 'but that's not what it says in the article!' And so I capitulated. 'I'll just check with the representative tomorrow'. I felt a bit bad, partly because I wasn't able to answer their query but also I wasn't sure if I had inadvertently left them crestfallen after their high hopes about the new lens.

A week later I had the same query from a patient, and so it was that I was a bit more prepared to discuss the lens. Thank god for my mum who surfs the net!

When I asked the company representative about the lens, unfortunately there was not much information to be had. It was only last week that I found out a bit more about the lens. I understand that this is a new lens, but it achieved the CE mark in June and I think companies in this day and age should do more to coordinate the availability of their products, and also the dissemination of information about their products around the world. The thing is, the world has never been a smaller place...

Update 22 October 2014
2 months down, the Symfony lens has finally arrived in Singapore! It is currently in an evaluation phase with limited lens powers available, however, suitable patients can be considered for this lens. I feel that this is a lens which is likely to be better accepted among patients, and also doctors, as it uses a proven platform which should make IOL power more predictable as well.

Update 5 March 2015
My first cataract patients who opted for this lens implant have been very happy, and reported no problems with halos or driving at night. Near vision has also been good, with the ability to read newspapers without glasses.

The Symfony lens is now generally available in Singapore, and is also available in a toric version so that patients with significant corneal astigmatism will also stand to beenfit from this lens. As there are no significant side effects with this lens, I routinely offer it to my cataract patients nowadays, who have no other eye conditions and who desire spectacle freedom after surgery.

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