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Is the Crystalens the Right IOL for You?

Updated on April 12, 2011

Patients who undergo cataract surgery have an important decision to make as to their choice of an IOL (intraocular lense implant).  Unless the circumstances are unusual, the IOL you choose will be in your eye for the rest of your life.  Some patients will consider going with a Crystalens IOL.  It can be a good choice for some, but, still, it is important to recognize the limitations of the Crystalens.

The Crystalens is known as a “lifestyle lense” or a “premium IOL” – that is, an IOL which provides enough accommodation so that, potentially, you can be free of glasses 90% of the time.  A Crystalens has no fixed focal point where it functions best.  The lense is purported to provide excellent near, intermediate, and distance vision.

The Crystalens HD

What Do I Need to Know?

Here are some points to consider if you are thinking of the Crystalens.

  • How much time do you spend reading from print books and magazines during an average week? Be brutally honest with yourself (I wasn’t honest – I think I deluded myself). Check out my article on how much time the average American spends each week reading print materials. Spending hours every day on the Internet tends to crowd out the time spent reading from print media. The Crystalens will only accommodate for close vision if you are willing to spend the requisite time each week reading newspapers or books. The more time spent, the more your ciliary muscles will be strengthened.
  • How much money can you budget for your cataract surgery? I covered many of the cost considerations of cataract surgery with a Crystalens in this hub. And your vision will be much better if you can afford to purchase a Crystalens for both eyes. Can you?
  • Are you aware that over half of Crystalens implants will eventually need a procedure called a YAG capsulotomy? The YAG is an office procedure that is done using a laser. It is performed when the patient experiences cloudy vision that is caused by a posterior lens opacification. Once you have the YAG done, it is very difficult to explant your Crystalens. Also, there could be a subtle shift in the position of the IOL after a YAG.
  • How patient are you? You should be able to achieve good distance vision with the Crystalens, and also decent intermediate vision. Under the most ideal conditions, it could take a year or more to achieve good close vision.
  • Are you worried about halos and glare at night post-cataract surgery? If so, the Crystalens is very unlikely to give you problems in this area.
  • Do you have astigmatism? How much? If you have that condition, it may be difficult to achieve excellent post-cataract vision, even if your surgeon does the LRI procedure (limbal relaxing incisions) during your surgery. Residual astigmatism will affect visual acuity at all distances. If the results of cataract surgery are disappointing, your surgeon may suggest a LASIK touch-up, but that is another costly, elective procedure.
  • Are you near-sighted or far-sighted? Near-sighted individuals can usually read fine without glasses, and so, the implantation of a Crystalens might mean quite an adjustment for them.
  • If you want a Crystalens, your choice of an experienced surgeon is very important. Does the surgeon’s practice that you are considering for your cataract surgery have the Crystalens Center of Excellence designation? Find out here at the Crystalens web site.

My Experience

It's been a year since I had a cataract removed, and a Crystalens implanted in my left eye. I have only one IOL. Many, many people opt to have the second cataract extraction a few weeks following the first. But my personal situation was quite different.

I am getting some accommodation even with only one Crystalens. I no longer wear glasses when I use a computer. Although I am waiting much longer than most individuals for the second cataract surgery (I may get it done in six months), I am pleased with my Crystalens, and I have found so far that it was the best choice I could have made for my vision.


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