Breakthroughs in surgical vision correction are rejuvenating the lives of cataract patients everywhere. Now it is not only possible to recover clear vision after cataract surgery, but it’s also possible to improve it, and for all viewing distances, with no eyeglasses needed ever. The PanOptix trifocal lens is a landmark solution in vision restoration. ICT Eye in Wichita, KS offers extensive expertise with this remarkable vision procedure.
What Is PanOptix?
PanOptix is a trifocal inter-ocular lens (IOL). As the name implies, it is capable of three different areas of focus. An IOL is a clear lens that is surgically implanted to replace the degraded, cloudy eye lens that is the hallmark of the cataract patient. When the damaged natural eye lens has been replaced by an IOL, the patient experiences more light, sharper contrasts, and clearer focus at three different distances: near, far, and the in-between distance many of us use with our computers.
People who are at the age where cataracts begin to occur are often already using vision corrections such as eyeglasses. Many of these people use more than one correction, like a pair of distance glasses, computer glasses, reading glasses, and so on. Progressive lenses are effective solutions for some people but awkward and unwearable for others. The IOL is like having a customized “progressive” eye lens that works at all three distances.
How Does It Work?
The two physical components of the eye that focus incoming light and let our brain create “vision” are the cornea and the lens. About a third of our focusing power comes from the lens. When cataracts cloud the lens, it must be replaced. Until recently, the replacement was an implanted monofocal (single focus) lens. A successful result was vision that was just as good as before the operation.
Unfortunately,” just as good’ often isn’t good enough. At the ages where cataracts can become a problem, there are usually vision degradations, either recent or longstanding. Just as a single pair of eyeglasses doesn’t work many people who need vision correction, a monofocal IOL doesn’t make enough vision corrections. A trifocal IOL solves this problem.
What Are the Benefits?
The system IOL is capable of delivering 20/20 vision at three different distances, rather than one or sometimes two. For many years, vision patients understood their eyesight as a matter of near-sightedness (myopia) or far-sightedness (hyperopia). When our world became digital, a third, middle distance between them became important.
When we work on a computer screen, a typical viewing distance is 24 inches. This is further away than reading a book and obviously much closer than far-distance vision needed for driving and other activities. Until recently, cataract patients had to settle on which focal distance would be optimized in the new lens and which distance would still need corrective glasses. With a trifocal IOL, all three distances are corrected in a single procedure.
By the age of 50, most people’s eyesight suffers from a form of farsightedness called presbyopia. This condition is caused by changes to the lens inside the eye, which becomes stiffer and less elastic with age. This makes it more difficult for the eye to change its effective focal range from close, near, and far. Typical vision scenarios from everyday life that are often in need of correction include:
- Driving a car
- Watching TV at typical viewing distances
- Watching live events like concerts or sports
- Enjoying outdoor activities
- Reading a book
- Reading or writing on a smartphone
- Handicrafts such as needlework or soldering
- Reading medication labels
- Working on a desktop computer
- Reading a hand-held tablet
- Applying cosmetics
- Shaving and other personal grooming
This third, middle vision is the prime differentiator that PanOptix brings to the table. For many people, life at the computer is not only work but also a pleasure: at this distance, we watch our movies, conduct our social media experiences, and make many of our daily interactions with the world. This is the most advanced IOL solution available that offers lens sections optimized for the patient’s far, near, and intermediate vision.
Why Is It Better?
While trifocal IOLs have been popular in Europe (over 70 countries in total) for years, FDA approval brought this dramatic breakthrough to the US in August of 2019. PanOptix was the first trifocal IOL to be granted this approval in the U.S. and has proven itself the most effective solution available. The advantages of the PanOptix IOL over competing solutions include:
- Filtering that protects the eyes from both ultraviolet light and sunlight
- Filtering that protects the eyes from blue light damage from digital screens
- Clinically-proven superior image quality over other leading trifocals
- Better close and middle vision compared to other trifocals
- Easier reading without the need for reading glasses
Nothing warms a doctor’s heart more than a patient that has been absolutely delighted with the results of the work. By this measure, PanOptix has been an astounding success story, and patient enthusiasm after the procedure has been virtually unanimous.
For example, in response to questions given in a clinical study of recipients of the PanOptix lens:
- 99% of recipients would choose the same lens again
- 98% of recipients would recommend it to family and friends
- 80.1% of recipients reported that they never used eyeglasses again
- Another 11.4% of recipients said that they rarely used eyeglasses anymore.
This remarkably positive reception speaks volumes about the procedure’s effectiveness. More than 90% of people who received the treatment never or hardly ever needed to wear glasses after fixing their cataracts.
Life Enhancement Through Better Vision
Vision is the most important of our five senses. It’s estimated that more than 80% of the information that the brain processes during our waking hours are from visual input from the eyes. When our eyes begin to fail us, the world around us changes. We become more withdrawn and less social. We don’t get as much enjoyment from our usual activities. Seniors who are aging in place can become more isolated.
The re-introduction of clear vision has dramatic effects on our emotional well-being, as well as our physical selves. This procedure literally provides a new look at life, and for many recipients, a fresh new look that they haven’t seen in years.
Who Is It Right For?
The system is recommended as a next-generation solution for patients who are suffering from cataracts. Generally speaking, the trifocal IOL is best suited for patients that spend substantial time with computer screens, but who still want to be able to enjoy other activities without the need for corrective eyewear. This multi-zone corrective ability is unique to the trifocal IOL system.
Many cataract patients who receive a conventional monofocal IOL end up having to wear one or more pairs of eyeglasses after the operation. Recipients of bifocal IOLs often report blurry or streaky vision at middle distances of about an arm’s length, such as computer distance. The trifocal IOL solves both problems — no blurry middle zone and in most cases, no more eyeglasses.
What’s the Preparation Like?
Like progressive eyeglasses, a trifocal IOL is designed to provide multiple optical powers for vision correction. This power is measured in units called a “diopter.” A positive diopter power corrects for far-sightedness, while a negative number corrects near-sighted vision. Prior to the procedure, the surgeon will take extensive vision tests to determine the correct plus and/or minus diopter settings that will be embedded into the IOL lens.
In addition to the conventional tools used for a thorough vision assessment, the surgeon uses ultrasound technology and a sophisticated computer program to painlessly measure specific eyeball dimensions that are critical to determining the correct diopters. These measurements are amazingly precise — accurate down to tenths of a millimeter. The most important of these measurements are the curvature of the cornea and the distance from the cornea to the retina.
What Is Recovery Like?
The surgery is an outpatient procedure, so patients can go home the same day. Because vision will be temporarily impaired by the operation, it’s essential that there be someone to take the patient home. Home is where most of the recovery will take place. It takes the eyes some time to adjust to the artificial lens and the optical zones that have been built into it. Full recovery is achieved in a matter of several weeks for some patients and up to two months for others.
Immediately After Surgery
You may be prescribed medicated eye drops, which you should take as directed. You will also need to be on guard for any excess exposure to sunlight or screen light immediately following the procedure.
Several Days Later
A few days after the procedure, any uncomfortable symptoms should begin to clear up. To ensure a smooth recovery, patients are advised to:
- Keep soaps and shampoos out of the eye when showering
- Avoid face lotions or eye makeup while the eye is healing
- Avoid touching or rubbing the eye whenever possible
- Avoid strenuous activities, such as sports
After several days, any physical discomforts in the eye will usually clear up, and you will see your doctor again for a follow-up.
Several Weeks Later:
Patients are advised to avoid strenuous physical activity in the weeks following IOL surgery, until you’re given the ok by the doctor. Strain and elevated blood pressure can slow the healing process. Follow-up visits monitor both the progress of your physical well-being and your vision recovery. When the physical healing process is complete, you will be given another vision check and if necessary, a final prescription for any needed corrective eyewear.
Will I Need Sunglasses?
There’s no such thing as light-responsive IOLs (yet) that act like “photo gray” eyeglasses that darken in sunlight. While the IOL is permanently coasted to provide protection against the sun’s ultraviolet light, as well as the blue light from computer screens, it’s always a good idea to protect your eyes from excess sun exposure.
The advantage then, of the PanOptix IOL is twofold. In addition to providing built-in protection against harmful light rays from the sun, the need for separate sunglasses for each vision prescription is eliminated. In fact, for many patients, the need for prescription eyeglasses is no longer necessary at all. Any pair of non-prescription sunglasses will provide appropriate protection.
How Can I Get Started?
The decision to fix cataracts is usually a simple one – people who can’t see well generally want to fix the problem as quickly as possible! The difficulty of the decision lies in the procedure and solution that’s recommended. Call us today at ICT Eye in Wichita, KS, where we can bring back your vision after cataracts, even better than it was before, and provide you with a life no longer dependent on eyeglasses.