Symfony lens comparison to naked eye

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As a brief background, I have a Symfony lens implanted in my right (dominant) eye and my God given eyeball on the left side. I'm trying to decide between having another Symfony lens implanted or a standard lens implanted in the other (left) eye, or go for a complete lens exchange. It has been 4-1/2 months since my first eye was worked on.

A couple of nights ago, I was in a theater watching an animated film (Ethel & Ernest, which was great). As I was watching the movie, I would occasionally alternately cover one eye and then the other, to see if I could notice any difference in what I was seeing from one eye to the other. I was very surprised to find out that my original eye produced noticeably richer colors and more detail than the Symfony eye. In fact, some of the fine black line work could be seen with my original eye, but wasn't there at all with the Symfony eye. I found this kind of disturbing. (Also, my original eye was seeing sharper than the Symfony eye). My question is: Is the loss of richness and color a by-product of the Symfony lens or could that be what my natural eye would be seeing even if I didn't have an implant? Also, if it is a by-product of the Symfony lens ... if I went for a lens exchange (to a standard lens), could I expect to see the richness and detail come back again (or is it lost forever)? Thank you.

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63 Replies

  • Posted

    I'm really interested in these responses too. Have A Restor 2.5D in one eye and nothing yet in the other eye (just a multifocal contact). I do have a cataract in that eye but it doesn't cause any visual issues yet. When I get the other eye done I am considering a Symfony for the improved focus in the 3ft to 10ft range but my main concern is that there would be a noticeable difference in how I perceive colors between the two eyes. I notice no difference at all now between the two eyes and I'm very sensitive to colors.

    Is it bothersome to you or do you only notice it when alternating eyes?

    • Posted

      While alternating between the eyes in the theater, the difference was very noticeable to me, but to be honest, I doubt that I would have noticed it without doing that. (Maybe a case of ignorance is bliss?)
  • Posted

    Interesting observations.   As both my eyes were affected by cataracts even with one eye implanted with a Symfony Lens that operated eye could see so

    much better than unoperated eye.

    My conclusion is that these IOLs  (monofocal or multifocals) should only be implanted once glasses or contact lenses can no longer corrected your vision.  I would suspect even with a monofocal lens you would still see better through other eye that has a healthy natural lens.

    • Posted

      Maybe I should mention that my “old original eye” was looking through the prescription lens of my old glasses. Those glasses have the lens still in place for my original, natural eye, but the other lens popped out to accommodate the Symfony eye. I rarely wear them, but did that night just for the movie. 
    • Posted

      I too had to go around with my glasses with one lens popped out for 6 weeks while I waited for 2nd surgery.  During those 6 weeks my Symfony took over for distance and intermediate but when I was reading I held objects st the natural distance I had when both eyes had their natural lenses st 6 to 8 inches.  It was my unoperated eyes that did all the reading.  At that time with just one Symfony I had to hold out my iPhone at 16 inches.  Once 2nd eye was operated on with another Symfony I was able to read st 11 inches.  
    • Posted

      Thanks Sue.An. That's good to know. As I said previously, I rarely wear my glasses. My unoperated eye is nearsighted, so I feel like it's saving me right now, as that's the eye that allows me to read. I can't read with the Symfony eye right now ... it's too blurry close up.

    • Posted

      When you close the unoperated eye at what distance can you read with Symfony?  

      My surgeon didn’t test reading after first surgery he just said that reading with Symfony improves once both eyes were operated on.

      He was right - it did improve.  24 hours after surgery I could read at 14 inches and I could read J1 off Snellen chart at that distance.  At 6 week post op I could read at 11 inches and that is where I am today.  I did get used to this new normal distance.

    • Posted

      I suppose it depends on the size of the type. As it is now, sitting in front of a laptop, when I put my face right up to the screen and slowly pull back as far as I can, the email sized text never gets crystal clear ... at any distance, even with the brightness on the screen as high as it goes. If I move my head/eye around, I can sort of figure out the text at about 2 to 2-1/2 feet back (where it seems to be at its best), but it's still pretty difficult. It gets noticeably better when the screen brightness is turned up.

    • Posted

      What distance does it get crystal clear? Sounds like you may be a bit farsighted - lens power not calculated right or there is astigmatism.

      What did your doc say at post op?

    • Posted

      Thats what it sounds like to me as well, probably ended up too farsighted.

      Thats why earlier I suggested he get an optometrist refraction eye exam to find out exactly where the eye's Rx ended up to confirm that suspicion.

    • Posted

      Covering my natural eye and looking only through the eye with the Symfony lens, I can't say that it ever gets crystal clear. But the clearest it gets is at maybe a few inches over 2 feet away. I don't remember the doctor commenting about it at all ... if that is what you're referring to. I just remember the doctor saying that my eye healed properly and that I'm seeing 20/20.

    • Posted

      I believe to get a more accurate picture of where your vision is you might want to make an appointment with your optometrist.  Your surgeon sounds like mine (and most) in that as long as you can read a a certain line on the eye chart you are 20/20.  An optometrist will give you your written prescription - near and distance and astigmatism.   I think you could benefit from knowing as I do not think your results with Symfony are typically what you should expect.  Yes there are halos and concentric circles at night around light sources but you should see well - crisp and clearly from 26 inches and beyond.

      As well if it were me I would want to know where this operated eye wound up before looking at anything for 2nd eye.  

    • Posted

      Thanks Sue.An. ... I never expected cataract surgery to be so difficult. (sigh)
    • Posted

      By the way, for what it's worth, I did see another surgeon for a second opinion who told me that the first surgeon did an excellent job ... that he nailed it (in his words). He also told me that I was seeing 20/20, but didn't elaborate any more than that (... that I remember anyway).

    • Posted

      Still think getting your exact prescription would tell you what you need to know.
    • Posted

      I don't know the technical aspects of prescriptions like several people in this forum do. I will have to study to understand it.

    • Posted

      After my cataract surgery I'm reminded of the old saying "if it ain't broke don't fix it."

      Something that never ceases to amaze me is how some surgeons have been been able to convince a patient that any artificial lens is better than a healthy natural eye, seemingly for the only purpose of lining their pockets.


      As far as "nailing it" ...if you have 20/20 vision, what that means you can see clearly at 20 feet what is missing from that comment is how well you will see at 2 or 5 or 10 or 20 inches with an artificial lens. Natural vision, with a healthy eye is linear, if you can see at 20 feet you can see at 2 inches. That is not true with ANY artificial lens, is that even the most sophisticated artificial lens cannot replicate the  dynamic range of a healthy natural lens.

      Cataract surgery for those that need it is a Godsend. The trend to do the other healthy eye just because it is convenient and adds to the procedure's bottom line for everybody in the medical food chain associated with that original blessing is not in the patients best interest IMO.

    • Posted

      I am not technical either in terms of calculating what power to aim for.   A prescription is pretty straightforward.  Minus in front of a number means you are nearsighted and + in front of a number means you are far sighted.  The higher the number the more near sighted or far sighted you are compared to normal eyesight.  OD and OS refer to right eye and left eye (believe they stand for Latin word for those).  SPH indicates the amount of lens power, measured in diopters (D), prescribed to correct nearsightedness or farsightedness. And CYLindicates the amount of lens power for astigmatism. If nothing appears in this column, either you have no astigmatism, or your astigmatism is so slight that it is not really necessary to correct it with your eyeglass lenses.

      Even if this is confusing (and I have to admit too much of it was until I had to look into cataract surgery for myself) as you say many on this forum could help you understand your prescription if you want to post what it is.   First step is to get that eye tested to find out what the prescription is.  This will help you in selecting power for the unoperated eye.  It really doesn’t make sense why your vision isn’t crisp.  For some things ignorance is bliss but not when it comes to your vision.    I waited too long with double and blurry vision before going to see my optometrist.  I had seen her less than a year ago so I kept thinking I would wait the 2 years.  But deep down knew something was very wrong.   

      Please do go see an optometrist and get that prescription- there are many here who will gladly help you interpret those numbers and offer suggestions.

    • Posted

      I agree with your comments John- lens replacement should only be done when one has cataracts bad enough that glasses or contacts can no longer correct vision.  As a cataract patient I am grateful for the advances that have been made and they’ve given me a new lease in life and I am able to function well with them.

      I don’t blame the patient though as much as I look at these surgeons who are motivated by money.

      Interestingly enough I see many ads pop up now on my Facebook page (likely because I read many articles online about IOLs cataract surgery etc and I have now been commenting on them and been quite pointed in my comments about PresbyVision- which is removing natural lens just to correct vision.  Some have had my comments removed and I keep posting them.  A few have asked me to explain further and I do.  I am pretty those that monitor social media for these companies are annoyed with me.

      It really annoys me the way they prey on people who would like their vision perfect again.  

    • Posted

      Sue.An, how soon was you vision crisp and clear? I had a Symfony lens put into my right eye 4 days ago. I am very nearsighted, and felt very unbalanced with the Symfony in the right and eyeglasses over the left. I was given an in stock contact lens for the left eye. Instantly better for balance. Since this is a temporary fix this lens is the closest in stock and doesn’t correct for presbyopia. So I am wearing “cheaters” to read and that even isn’t super clear. I am scheduled to have a Symfony put in the left eye this coming week as I was told that with such nearsightedness it is recommended to do the second eye soon after the first. Vision tests one day postoperative checked near, intermediate and far, which tested better than corrected with eyeglasses preop. So I am wondering about the clear vision. 

      One other question is I do get some glimmering in my lateral vision which my daughter brought up because she could see it. This was in evening with only interior artificial lighting from lamps. Wondering if you have experienced this and if so did it decrease? 

      Thanks so much!

    • Posted

      Hi Gladys

      I was near sighted in both eyes but only moderately.  -2.75 in right and -2.25 in left.  I had 6 weeks between surgeries and managed to get by with one lens poked out although it wasn’t the best.  Operated eye took over for most things and unoperated eye took over for reading.

      For me vision was clear about 24 hours after operation.  Bit longer for 2nd eye.  Had strong glare and starbursts at night when outside and that took 6 weeks to subside.

      I think some people are affected by the drops more and get clearer vision after that.

      Both my eyes were targeted for 0D but I was glad to have time between surgeries to see where first eye landed before 2nd surgery.  

    • Posted

      Thanks Sue.An.

      In all of my 62 years, I never knew (or took the time to learn) what all of those terms and numbers meant (OD, OS, SPH, etc.). Thank you for taking the time to explain it to me. I feel like my local optometrist has had enough of me and just wants me to go away. If this is just a basic exam that any optometrist can do, maybe I'll seek out another optometrist for this test (like at a Walmart). It might be quicker that way too.

      When you mention me selecting a power for the unoperated eye, I had no idea that was something a patient could have a part in choosing ... I always thought the eye doctor made that choice (based on his expertise in the field).

    • Posted

      Yes the surgeon makes the calculations based on measurements they take but a patient can ask questions and surgeon should discuss distance preferred.  I know I discussed my migraines with my surgeon/opthamologist and my concern to ‘balance’ the eyes.  Even with Symfony lenses you can do a mini monovision to get reading distance closer however in my case we aimed for plano (0D) in both eyes.  I was expecting reading distance with that set up to be 16 it 18 inches.  To my surprise I read very well at 11 inches.  There are variables out of the surgeon’s control that can account for that. I am a young cataract patient at 53 so whether my eyes will change over time I don’t know.

      But reason I am suggesting you do get an exact prescription (and yes you could see another one - Walmart / I went to Costco to one I had been seeing for several years) is so that you could discuss a target for your second eye with surgeon.  That prescription will tell you (and optometrist you go to should be able to explain it to you in layman’s terms) whether you are farsighted and have more than nominal astigmatism.  Both those would explain your current vision in operated eye.  If you are too far sighted in that operated eye and no significant astigmatism you may want to discuss a monovision or mini monovision strategy for 2nd surgery regardless of lens type you select (be it another Symfony or monofocal lens).  This would provide a better range of vision for you.

      But I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to know why your vision isn’t clear until 2 feet.  That just doesn’t make a lot of sense if your surgeon had implanted a Symfony aimed for plano.  You should be seeing crisp from 18 inches at least clearly all the way to 20 feet.   As John pointed out surgeon telling you that all is fine and you see 20/20 doesn’t really tell you he ‘nailed it’.  You need to know how well you see at 2 feet 4 feet 6 feet etc.   And the person to tell you that is an optometrist as that person will be able to give you a prescription.

      Hopefully you can see one soon and let us know what the prescription is and there are lots of people on the forums who could suggest various strategies for 2nd surgery. 

      Good luck - wishing you well. 

    • Posted

      Yeah, thats what I did - use a low cost optometrist at a local Walmart or Costco store to get a basic no-frills refraction eye exam for an eyeglasses Rx.

      The Lenscrafters chain also have relatively low cost optometrist eye exams to get an Rx, you don't have to buy eyeglasses there.

    • Posted

      Thank you kindly for responding so quickly! It may be eye drops. My vision both eyes is -7.75 (about). I also have presbyopia and astigmatism. So not sure if that makes a difference. My thinking was Symfony both eyes vs tonic in left and Symfony right.
    • Posted

      Hi I disagree with healthy lenses if you are natural longsited and have prespiopia, hiperopia and are really strong prescription like +5 with you natural lenses you can not see at any distance. and I had 4 different type of glasses for varsity of distances . And progressive glasses are not so good as well I am not saying that lens exchange is better but just saying that people want some freedom . And lenses exchange may get you there ... well let's say that I am still not finished with my case and not happy yet with my new lenses

      But for a moment I do not have regrets for my desition. May be only for the way i approached it and the amount of research I did in advance . and I pay100% all the way so far 12k usd

    • Posted

      I think there is a "typo" in your 2nd sentence. "As both my eyes .... that operated eye could see so much better than unoperated eye."  You meant the other round right?  wink

      Because you ended saying " .. even with a monofocal lens you would still see better through other eye that has a healthy natural lens."

    • Posted

      Most of us here had to remove our aging lenses due to "cataracts". In your case you may not have "cataracts" but a similar surgery should improve your glaucoma predicament.

    • Posted

      First of all, thanks to vlad873 for bumping this thread to my attention again with a post. I've been following so many other threads or having private discussions with other members about my situation that I forgot about this thread. Also, sometimes I get to a point where I feel like my head can't hold any more information and I simply need to pull away for a little while ... to take a breather.

      I'd like to pick up where I left off ... where Sue.An asked me to let you all know what my current prescription is. About a week or 2 ago, I talked with my regular optometrist over the phone with the intention of setting up an appointment to get a current prescription (and other things too lengthy to go into right now, as far as this thread goes). After a long discussion, it was decided that I should try to relax a little bit ... that there wasn't a need or hurry to push through a decision immediately. I want to get this behind me ASAP, but at the same time, I think my optometrist has a point, as I haven't felt relaxed since my surgery last November (and maybe even before that).

      So anyway, even though I don't have a current prescription for my operated Symfony eye, I did ask my optometrist why I was having trouble seeing sharply at any distance at all with the Symfony eye. I don't remember his exact answer, but I got the feeling that he wasn't sure. He did tell me that the last reading he had for that eye taken down during my surgery follow-up exams was that my reading vision in the Symfony eye was something like 20/60 or so (I think). I don't remember him explaining why it was so poor. (I'm no doctor, but that sure sounds poor to me). So that's where I'm at right now.

      It's late as I type this and I'm very tired ... I hope I explained things well enough. I was very happy to see andi's "complaint reports" in a couple of other threads. Thank you andi. It makes me feel like my dissatisfaction and frustration is warranted.

      Later all......

    • Posted

      No not typo- during 6 weeks between surgeries my unoperated eye took over reading (I did not need readers at that time).  For distance during those 6 weeks between surgeries my Symfony eye took o Er for that as well as intermediate.
    • Posted

      These posts don’t go in chronological order - if you are referring to another one - and I am missing something let me know who I was replying to - couldn’t exactly find that reply you were referring to.     I reread what I wrote - and sometimes hit reply and words/sentences still get messed up at times.   
    • Posted

      Hi rpk0925

      Yes I can only imagine how stressful all this is - stressful enough to go through the procedure and stress on top of stress when the outcome wasn’t what you expected.   Yes sometimes a breather to step away from it to get perspective again is best and then tackle it on.   

      I am puzzled by your optometrist ‘s comments and can’t understand how he can comment on your question as to why you don’t see well out of Symfony eye without doing an eye exam or knowing what current prescription is.  I liken that to calling the medical hotline and describing symptoms and expecting a diagnosis.  With their training and background they offer general advice but usually say if symptoms persist to make an appointment with your doctor.

      After you’ve taken some time to step away I would still encourage you to make an appointment with any optometrist to get a written prescription.   You won’t really know what the issue is until you have that in hand.   It could be the power calculation was off for the IOL or you have astigmatism.   The optometrist can confirm those 2 issues.   If that isn’t the issue the opthamologist should take another look to see if there are any other issues going on.

      It appears to me that the setup of some practices are all too keen to take your money, promise you the moon and leave you high and dry if patient not satisfied and they appear to be unwilling to do anything about it after the fact.  You could be at a point where there is ‘no fight’ left and I bet these practices count on that to some extent.

      Don’t give up - you deserve answers to your valid questions.

    • Posted

      Thank you Sue.An ... I could well be reaching that point of having "no fight left". It's been a long time of daily worrying. Right now, I'm concentrating more on understanding where my operated eye is at, than anything else. I'm having a hard time understanding which artifacts/effects from the Symfony lens will go away and what might stay if I opt for a lens exchange. The only artifact I'm sure that would go away are the concentric circles ... everything else is foggy to me. And as I've stated in other places in this forum, I have a hard time finding illustrations of what I'm seeing with my night vision. One of the illustrations I've seen that comes close, but still isn't exact, is an illustration that was a result of radial keratotomy ... which I understand has to do with the cornea. With that in mind, I wonder if some of what I'm seeing is a result of my cornea being cut into somehow ... which would probably be permanent damage and couldn't be fixed no matter what kind of IOL I go with. But I don't know ... and I don't understand. None of the surgeons or optometrists I've spoken with have said anything about my cornea through all of this, so that's just speculation on my part. Once I understand what's going on, I can go full speed ahead again.

    • Posted

      And by the way ... I don't know if it's a matter of not having any fight left. It might be more a matter of not knowing where to turn to to find answers. You would think I can just talk to a surgeon or eye doctor ... but things seem to change for me when I walk into a doctor's office. The talk seems to always go off on a tangent somewhere and I leave their office with more questions than answers. I also always seem to run out of time before all of my questions are answered. So frustrating. So then to get your questions answered (old and new), you have to set up another appointment (for likely weeks away) and pay another doctor visit fee. It gets to be so draining. I'm sure you all can relate to what I'm trying to say.

    • Posted

      Yes very frustrating.   Is there a family member or close friend that would go with you to an appointment? If not for moral support would be another pair of ears listening?   I found it helpful to write out my questions and take the list with me to stay on point and not dart down rabbit holes.

      I know it’s worrisome if you think something happened to your cornea during surgery, but first eliminate the more obvious reasons for current vision which is why I suggest you book with an optometrist (not necessarily your regular one or one associated with your cataract surgery).  Head into one in nearest mall or Costco, Walmart or Lens Crafters.  Every one of those places has an optometrist on-site and for nominal fee will examine your eyes and hand you a written prescription.

      Once you have that prescription in hand it would be time to revisit your surgeon with those findings.  If optometrist can correct the power with glasses you know the surgeon miscalculated that in his measurements.  If the issue isn’t the power calculation or astigmatism it would be a good idea to seek out a retina/cornea specialist to see if something else is going on.

      But take the time to give yourself room to breath and come up with a plan.  Like I said your concerns are valid and you deserve answers.

    • Posted

      Thanks yet again Sue.An. I would hate to burden a family member or friend with my problems. Besides, they already know that I can be difficult to deal with, so they're probably relieved that I haven't asked them to come along with me ... yet. ;-)

      I've been seeing my optometrist for years, so in a way, I feel a loyalty towards him. Also, because of seeing him so long, I get a sense of comfort with him. And I live in a small community where he is the only optometrist in town. :-) (That's the Reader's Digest version). I'm not against seeing somebody else ... I've been down that road before ... maybe I'll go there again ... we'll see how things play out.

    • Posted

      It’s just occurred to me that perhaps lack of options (optometrist or opthamologist) may be a reason for the outcome.  Living in a small town of one optometrist there couldn’t have been many opthamologists either.  Wondering how much experience he had in performing cataract surgery let alone experience with premium lenses?

      You may want to consider travelling outside your community for a consult with a larger practice- or specially if you are considering lens exchange.  Don’t let loyalty get in the way of answers and having better vision.  Just my 2 cents worth.

    • Posted

      I like Sue.An's sound advice.  A highly qualified and experienced surgeon will definitely help you, rp0925.

      We know that Symfony lenses are good for golfing, and may not be so great for reading.  Hubby's eye-dr was so confident right from the start that he would be glasses-free.  As it turned out, his eye-dr was right.  One month post cataract surgery his vision was 20/17, and his eye-dr still offered a laser enhancement to better it (perhaps to 20/15 ?) with no extra cost. But hubby was quite happy with his glasses-free vision then, and still is. This eye-dr is the top-notch eye surgeon in our area and is a staff-surgeon at our local GH, who has performed numerous IOL surgeries. If I have to guess a ballpark figure, it could easily be 1000 surgeries a year.

    • Posted

      Even though the town I live in is small, there is a decent choice of surgeons 30 miles or so away. I guess if there's a problem, it's knowing which surgeons are better than the others.

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