New lens implant for cataract patients - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

New lens implant for cataract patients

A new lens implant for cataract patients that provides both near and distance focus is now available. (Source: KPLC) A new lens implant for cataract patients that provides both near and distance focus is now available. (Source: KPLC)

A breakthrough in vision technology is changing the way people with cataracts can see.  A new lens implant now offers cataract patients both near and distance focus, something that had been limited with other implants on the market. 

Sally Foret of Lake Charles has worn glasses for the past 20 years.

She moved to bifocals and a multifocal contact lens, but just a couple of months ago, she was directed to ophthalmologist, Dr. Jon Yokubaitis, at The Eye Clinic for a deeper vision problem.

"I didn't really know that I have cataracts, or I didn't know that I had a big problem because things happen so gradually," said Foret, "but, I did notice that I seemed to need more light in my rooms."

Foret certainly was not alone.  Dr. Yokubaitis says presbyopia or the aging eye hits most of us as we move into middle age.

"After age 40, most people need reading glasses because of this phenomenon where you can't see within arm's reach and that's presbyopia," he said.

For patients like Foret, who have cataracts, the traditional lens implant to correct the condition could not offer both near and distance focus.

That has changed now with the FDA approval of the Symfony intraocular lens.

"Symfony is a new generation of implants for cataract surgery to correct their presbyopia, to correct their nearer vision, in addition to their distance vision," said Dr. Yokubaitis.

The procedure to remove the cataract and implant the Symfony lens only takes about five minutes.

"The previous lens has become cloudy and we take that out, that's the cataract, and we replace it with the lens implant," said Dr. Yokubaitis.

Foret had one eye done two weeks ago and the second eye last week.

"The next morning, I woke up and looked around and was just amazed about how much I could see," she said.

It is the pops of color and clarity that Foret says will help her enjoy the every day things that had become clouded, like the outdoors and her grandchildren.

"I feel like it's restored my natural vision that I can see things distance and that I can read something and that it's a seamless transition," she said.

Standard monofocal lenses are known to have nighttime glares and halos, but that is not been the case with the Symfony lens implants.  Symfony also helps with color enhancement.  Cataract surgery is typically covered by Medicare and insurance.  Coverage of the lens implants depends on your provider.  Without financial assistance, the cost is about $1,700.

If you notice blurriness, a glare, or difficulty driving in the bright sun or at night, it could be a warning sign of cataracts and you need to see your eye doctor.

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