Symfony lens halos

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This summer I had cataract surgery in both eyes and opted for the Symfony lens implants, including a toric lens in the astigmatic right eye.

My experience, two months out in left eye and two months out in right eye: Distance is crisp and colors are sharper. Daytime driving is noticeably easier.

Nighttime driving is a problem; severe halos around headlights and streetlights, like starbursts coming at me down the highway and concentric circles particularly in red lights. I also experience the same to some degree with bright images on a dark background on the television screen. Not as intense as with driving, but noticeable halos. My ophthalmologist says they will go away in time, but I am not yet convinced. There has been no improvement yet.

Computer work is fine, although I have increased font size a bit for less eye strain. Need 1.25 to 1.50 reading glasses for smaller print in books and on labels. I have residual astigmatism in the right eye, which had a toric lens implant. This may require treatment with Lasik.

Considering the expense of the lenses, I may have been better off with mono-focal lenses and continued glasses, which would have been covered by insurance. So the jury is out with me.

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  • Posted

    Sorry to learn that you also have the night vision issues due to the Symfony lenses.

    It is amazing that the ophthalmologists keep telling their patients that the concentric circles and starbursts will go away with time while it rarely seems to work out that way. I also haven't seen any changes in the concentric circles since my Symfony lens installation in the right eye during the last 1 year. (starbursts are due to the the required prescription error or irregular astigmatism and will change depending upon how well your eyes focus.

    Going back to the concentric circles, one just learns to live with those just like one does with many not-so-good things in life.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for this response, it confirms what I have felt. I believe that what really will happen is that I will just eventually adapt to these things as "the new normal." The ophthalmologist and everyone on his staff assure me that virtually every previous patient says that these effects go away. Maybe everyone else is just adapting as well. I do notice that the starbursts have lessened just a small bit recently, so I hold out hope.

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    • Posted

      jeromy, Its  been 3 months for me and still no improvement with starbursts and halos.  Night vision is a real challenge, and daytime light is so bright I need to ware sunglasses even on a slightly overcast day.  I'm very disappointed in symfony lenses . Plus, I have the added problem of eye irritation to the point that I'm considering removing them.  

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    • Posted

       It has been six months for me and I feel as if my vision is getting worse.  There are days that I just went to take them out as if removing a contact Lens. 
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    • Posted

      Hi Debbie - so sorry your vision is still awful despite passage of time. Have you had follow-ups with your surgeon?  What does he say in regards to reason why you don’t have good daytime vision.  I know trade-off is with night vision but you should be experiencing good daytime sight.    With 6 months of waiting and no resolution are you considering a lens exchange?
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  • Posted

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this. Several of you now have reported a similar problem with the Symfony lens (that was recommended to me by a private consultant). I have now decided to go with the NHS monofocal lens as I do quite a lot of night time driving. Your experiences have helped me to reach a decision.
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  • Posted

    Try not to lose hope just yet, I had different lenses to you (Carl Zeiss Trifocal, Toric in both eyes), I'm almost 4 months in now and the biggest improvements happened for me just before the 3 month mark. For the first month, my distance vision was very poor and night driving, even walking around at night was incredibly uncomfortable and driving being almost impossible due to the glare from lights. But now at almost 4 months I can see perfectly at night, strangely enough the weirdest time for me as that couple of hours where Day turns to Night. That's when I notice the glare still, maybe that's cos my pupils are adjusting to the lower light conditions, I am not sure?! 

    But honestly, I barely notice halos or glare etc now and can drive perfectly well at night. It's difficult to do but just try to see how the next few months go before losing hope! 

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    • Posted

      Thanks so much! This is what my doctor says, don't lose hope. He says it just might take a bit longer for me than other patients. I hope that's true and I am encouraged by your success!

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  • Posted

    Hi Jerome - I too had Symfony lenses implanted July and August this past summer.  Found the glare and starbursts to be strong in the beginning - so much so I did not see the concentric circles.  I have noticed improvement and there isn’t nearly had much glare and starbursts (except certain car headlights - the newer LED ones but almost everyone I talk to without cataracts finds those annoying on a dark road).  I do now see the concentric circles with the diminished glare/starbursts but they aren’t as difficult to see through when driving.  In the beginning Indidnt drive at night much but now I don’t think about it.  Doesn’t keep me home or worry me.  I too have excellent daytime vision - haven’t worn glasses since the surgeries.  Overall very pleased with the outcome of Symfony lenses.  My surgeon did let me know the trade/off with the IOLs and let me know as a younger cataract patient that I would have to make a compromise no matter which lens I chose.  Perhaps because I was aware of the night halos prior to surgery it helped guide my decision.  Given my line of work I think I would have found it more annoying trying to adjust to bifocals or 2 sets of glasses.

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    • Posted

      Hi Sue.An - Yes, even my partner complains about the new LED lights, those are a great nuisance to everyone. I had worn bifocals - actually, progressives - for about 10 years. The results were not perfect, as the reading lens portion was usually too thin unless I got gigantic frames. I think the starbursts are lessening slightly, or else I've just gotten used to them. Thanks for responding!

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    • Posted

      You’re welcome.  Just in my own research and discussion with my opthamologist (Soks for you too if following) - it is essential to get a good surgeon used to implanting  premium lenses.  It’s essential surgeon hits the target spot on (or very near).  You want excellent daytime vision without glasses otherwise why pay for these and compromise the night vision.

      And I do find with time night vision improves.   I have an uncle in UK who opted for multifocal lenses and he also advised that it took several months before he was comfortable with night driving.

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    • Posted

      Ask others in your area who they recommend.  Get a few consults and ask how many they’ve done.  In Canada we have a website rate my doc and people rate and comment.  Ask your optometrist who they recommend.  You’lol want someone who will dialogue with you.
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    • Posted

      Since I knew after my research I wanted a Tecnis IOL (either toric monofocal or toric Symfony) I discovered at the website for the manufacturer of the Tecnis IOLs they had a "find doctor" link and listed a few eye surgeons that had experience with them. I got a couple consultations from two other surgeons not on the list but that listed Symfony on their website or thru asking their assistants what IOLs they have used before. But the one close to me on the list was also part of the same clinic as my general doctor, and he was very agreeable to options such as having a monofocal in one eye and the Symfony in the other eye.  The other doctors didn't like the idea of mixing IOL types. So I went with the one that did and it turned out well.

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    • Posted

      Hi Sue.An - I had a Tecnis Symfony Toric lens put in my right eye almost two weeks ago.  I notice concentric circles now at night.  I'm curious to know what your vision is like now and what you see at night, especially while driving?

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    • Posted

      Hi Maria - I have 2 Symfony lenses implanted July and August 2017 respectively so now over 8 months out from the surgeries.

      I initially had a lot of glare - but didn’t see any concentric circles for a couple of weeks after my surgeries.  I was thinking I was one of the lucky few who didn’t see those!   However the glare and starbursts were very bothersome to drive with and I would plan my routes so that I travelled on streets with overhead lighting and also drove with interior dome light on (seemed to help construct my pupils) After 5 or 6 weeks glare and starbursts started to diminish and when it did I started to see what everyone was talking about concerning the huge circles - spider web like - mainly around red or amber coloured lights.   These are much more manageable (at least for me) than the glare.  Will admit they are odd though.   I really can’t say if I have they’ve gotten lighter or I am just used to them that I tune them out when driving.   I see well enough through them that currently I don’t worry much about night driving.  

      We travel a lot during summer with premier soccer so driving plenty on roads that are dark - no overhead lighting.  I see the circles on car brakes if someone in front of me brakes but not on brake lights if they are just on.  They also appear at 50 yards away so as I get nearer to light source they completely disappear.

      I don’t expect they disappear- there are some that have had the lens more than a year and still see them.   I knew that would be my trade-off with Symfony lenses.   I think if my day vision didn’t turn out well I would be sorely disappointed but I see great at all distances so the trade-off was worth it for me. 

      I know it’s still early days for you but is your vision (other than night) good?   I was fortunate that day 2 I was able to see well.  After 8 months of double vision and glare with cataracts- this is a lot better.

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    • Posted

      I had both eyes done in December and I'm still very bothered by the starbursts at night and even in the daytime. Sunlight through the windows cause glare. I'm so disappointed I would never never recommend symfony. to anyone.  Abbet should pull these off the market and refund everyone's money who wants it. I can't believe they even put out a product with this kind of an issue

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    • Posted

      Bucklywheat - what’s your prescription post cataract surgery?  

      I found daylight first few months bright - but that was due to the removal of the cataract ya which caused me to see everything with a yellowish brown tint.  For a while I wore sunglasses even inside the house.  

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    • Posted

      Other than night, yes, vision is pretty good. However, since I did not yet get my left lens in yet I feel somewhat "off."  Had an appointment today and the doctor said that is normal as the one eye is trying to compensate the other.  Five more days until the other lens.  The only thing I notice is the glare off headlights or sometimes the concentric circles, but hopefully that will go away in time, or I just won't know any different as discussed above.

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    • Posted

      I"m with Bucklywheat on this.

      I had my left eye done in June of 2017.

      The night time artifacts are no better almost a year later. In addition, my near vision seems to have deteriorated in the last several months.

      Eye irritation persists.

      I am seriously considering having the lens replaced with a regular mono focal IOL.

      I am really dissatisfied and disappointed.

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    • Posted

      I have the same night artifacts with my right "Symphony" eye.  It was put in on January 10, 2018.  I see huge starbursts.  Watching TV is bad, too, since I get a bad glare.  My left eye is fine because it is monofocal for distance.  I am going to decide within 2 weeks if I am going to get the Symfony exchanged.  My doctor says:  "Well, you have 20/12 in the Symfony eye.  There is a risk in doing a lens exchange. Do you really want to do it to get rid of the night artifacts?"

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    • Posted

      I also have problems in low light situations including watching TV at night in a darkened  room. Vision in general in anything but optimal light is deteriorates significantly..

      Regarding 20/12 vision, mine is nowhere near that. How's your vision in low light situations?

       

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    • Posted

      Sorry to learn that your near vision has deteriorated over the last few months. Have you had prescription checked lately to see how it compares with that a few months back? Has your distance vision also changed? If the vision at all distances has deteriorated, it may be due to something as simple as dry eyes.

      Regarding the night time artifacts such as seeing multiple circles around lights at night, leaving aside what the surgeons may tell one, there has never been any reason to believe that those will go away because those are due to the diffraction circles design of the Symfony lens. (I have not seen the slightest change for myself in 18 months). Yes, we learn to live with those, as we do with all bad things in life, but that is not the same as not seeing them any more.

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    • Posted

      My vision deteriorates inside in low light, especially my close up vision.  I just ordered a pair of progressive glasses and will wear them a week before deciding about whether to take the Symfony lens out and  replace it with a monofocal distance lens to reduce the starbursts and glare at night.
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    • Posted

      Thanks for your input.

      Please let us know how the progressive glasses work out and also about your decision on the lens exchange. I am considering the same course of action.

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    • Posted

      Have you looked online for images of what you are describing as starbursts and glare? People use various terms interchangeably to describe post-cataract surgery artifacts and the causes can be quite different.

      The multiple concentric rings are an artifact of your lens and (as others have said) those aren't going to disappear, but starbursts (which would be rays of light emanating out from a central point of light rather than around it) and some of the other issues you are describing probably aren't related to the fact that it's a Symfony IOL at all.

      Definitely spend a lot of time researching what's going on and try to determine, what is happening because it's a Symfony IOL versus something that is a possible side effect of the IOL surgery itself. The doctor might be able to correct some of your issues without replacing the IOL itself.  

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    • Posted

      Hi Sue.An,

      ?In another forum you recently wrote that you currently see appx. 10 concentric circles around car break lights and stop lights and LED lights at night.  Do you still see glare and startburts, as noted above?  Or did that go away?  If so, how long did it take to go away?  I am at 6 weeks post op right eye, and 4 weeks post op second eye with the Symfony Toric IOL and I have night issues driving.  Worry some I should say.  Headlights are starburst and sometimes I get halos (minus the smoky effect).  Sometimes the lights are almost overwhelming wherein I feel I won't be able to see the road.  I see my surgeon tomorrow.

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    • Posted

      Hi Maria04040418

      I am 7 months out from 2nd surgery.   I started to see less starbursts around the 6 week mark and they continued to diminish.  I won’t say they completely go away and with the new blue/white that are installed on cars these days (which are the worst) bother those without cataracts too.

      I have to admit that I had halo issue with cataracts so likely I don’t recall what a non halo world would look like.  I know after the surgeries I was really bothered when night driving and in fact planned my routes where I was certain there was overhead lighting.  those dark routes don’t bother me nearly so much now and I don’t think twice about driving at night.  Certainly it is better now than before my surgeries.

      The concentric circles are still there.  When driving I avert my eyes and focus on white painted line to the side of the road.  

      I have regular Symfony lenses and minimal astigmatism.  I think if one still has astigmatism great than .75 the halos and starbursts might be more bothersome .

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    • Posted

      Sue - well I got some answers from my surgeon.  He explained that he did my right eye for distance and my left eye for up close, considering I did not want glasses.  He said if he would have done both the same for distance, then I would have needed glasses for up close vision with these Symfony IOLs.  Since both eyes work together he felt this best.  Makes sense and now explains why I see great distance with my right eye and not with the left and vise versa. Says since the eyes work together, not me holding up one hand to the other, I need to realize the eyes work as a team. Before surgery I was 20/60 left, 20/50 right.  Now they are 20/30 left, 20/25 right.  Together he says they are 20/20.  Guess this is possible since they work together.  

      I went on to explain the night driving and about the severe starburst, halos and concentric circles.  He believes they will improve somewhat but not considerably and says my brain needs to adjust since it was seeing something for 50 yrs (I'm 51), and now seeing things totally different.  Tells me not to be afraid to drive at night and to stop concentrating so much on the lights and try not to think about it.  In time my brain will get used to it.  Let me ask you this, did you notice a big difference from 6-7 weeks to 6-7 months?  And are your lenses exact in both eyes, or one for distance and one for up close as well?

      ?

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    • Posted

      Hi Maria

      Is the glare worse in your left eye?  I am planning on using your approach but was told that leaving -0.5 correction (20/30) with Symfony will result in more glare and night time artifacts.  I am interested in your experience.

      Thanks.

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    • Posted

      Hi Maria - interesting comments.  My eyes were set for plano so both are equal with Symfony.  I do see ever so slightly better distance with right eye than left but I know even if targeted for 0D it can end up + or - about .25.

      I really didn’t want two different targets as I suffer from migraines and vertigo time to time and thought maybe having 2 targets would make those issues a bit worse.   But to my surprise I do not need readers I see fine (in good lighting) at 11 inches and even read the soil can labels!   I have used readers a couple of times when I went on vacation and wanted to read my novel.  Extended periods of reading seemed better with readers.

      I am close to your age at 53.  I don’t know if it is a brain adjustment thing or whether things really improve (truthfully might be a bit of both).   Things are much improved from those early months.  But your doctor is likely right about getting out at night.  I walk 5km every evening with my neighbor and now I hardly notice much glare and starbursts.  I have even taken photos with a good camera of lights and the photos are pretty much what I see - slightly bit more glare at times.  Even the moon sometimes I see a halo and sometimes it is crystal clear - no halo or blurring.  On nights I see a halo my husband notices me staring at it and will say he too sees a halo around it (forgot what it is called but the moon can appear that way even for those without cataracts or IOLs).   It will get better.  They say it takes 6 months.

      What hasn’t changed are the concentric circles and there are a number in these forums that have had Symfony lenses longer than I have and say they haven’t changed at all either.

      In those early months I used to drive with my interior dome light on or make sure the streets had overhead lighting but that too has gotten easier - especially routes I drive frequently on.  I still don’t like completely dark highways - especially those 2 lane ones. Headlights are much brighter today and I think troublesome for many.  We also have moose and deer here so another reason I avoid dark roads if I can.  But our family travels lots for my daughter’s Soccer and I don’t let it get in the way of going to away games.  

      Wishing you well.   

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    • Posted

      Soks - I notice the main difference if I cover the right eye.  Which of course isn't how we live our daily lives.  So the doc tells me since both are working together I shouldn't rely on doing that or I will frustrate myself.  My right eye is at Diopter: +22.5D SE 2.25D Cyl and my left eye is at Diopter: +23.0D SE 2.25D Cyl.  

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    • Posted

      Sue - unfortunately I was never given a choice or asked which diopter measurements the doctor was going to use.  I thought when I advised of the lenses they would both be the same but he says it would have made a difference in my near vision.  Maybe so, but isn't a lens a lens rather in your eye or mine?  Or am I wrong?  

      ?Fingers crossed that the night vision improves in time.  Although some roads are lit in my area there are a lot of dark back road and the 2 lane roads you speak of.  Let's hope it gets better.

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    • Posted

      Hi Maria

      What difference do you see if you do indeed cover your right eye?

      I do not understand the diopters.  Do you get toric lenses for astigmatism?

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    • Posted

      Distance is not as clear if I cover my right.  I don't understand the diopters either.  Just that the reading is 22.5 vs. 23.0 (as stated above).  I only know this because my doctor gave me a card after my surgeries in case I wanted to carry them in my wallet.  Yes I have the Toric lenses.

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    • Posted

      The lenses may be identical but each eye (even on same person) can be different and affect outcome.   

      I do know what you mean about closing one eye to compare.  I had a 6 week wait between surgeries so kept doing that and also first while after 2nd surgery.   Now when I try that I have to blink several times just to clear it and eye focused.  They do seem to work as a team.  My reading wasn’t even tested till after 2 surgery for that very reason.

      Try turning interior dome light on in your car - sounds weird but I felt it kept my eyes from dilating fully.  And sometimes turning high beams on were a help too on those dark roads.

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    • Posted

      Thanks Maria.  I am guessing that your near vision must be very god with the left eye then?

      How about night time glare and blurriness with the left eye?

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    • Posted

      Soks - Yes, vision is very good near and far.  All in all I'm pleased with the outcome, mainly hearing of difficulties some have experienced, I guess I'm pretty lucky.  And as discussed both eyes working together seem to be doing quiet well.  The night time glare and blurriness seems to be slightly improving and like the doc said it's something to get used to.  It's definitely different trust me.  Challenging as well but all in all I feel it was worth it.  The only other thing I noticed that I do not like is when I go from bright crystal clear outside to a low lighted inside, things are sorta off.  Best way to describe it is distorted somewhat.  Bothersome at times but I'm getting used to it.  As the doctor told me, it's not like seeing when you had your eyes at age 20.  But it is definitely better than what I saw with cataracts.  

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    • Posted

      Hello,

      Just wondering, did you decide to take the Symfony lens out and have it replaced with the  monofocal distance  lens? If so, are you glad that you did? 

      I do not want any halo/glare if I can avoid it. I am also nearsighted and I’m fine if I have to wear glasses still. I just want the best lens combo to be able to still work on a computer for work and use my phone not by holding it far out to see. This forum has been so helpful.

      Thank you for your insight. Take care.

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