Glimpse of things to come

A new tool helps patients to choose the most appropriate intraocular lens implant


A new handheld device can help patients visualise how their world will look through a variety of intraocular lenses (IOLs) prior to cataract surgery.

The system, nicknamed the SimVis, replicates monofocal, bifocal and trifocal IOLs – as well as their limits, from blurry distances with monofocal lenses to the loss of image quality and contrast with multifocal lenses.

The early-stage device was designed by a research team at the Spanish Instituto de Optica to offer patients a more informed IOL choice.

Researcher, Dr Carlos Dorronsoro, explained that: “Currently, the decision on which IOL is implanted during cataract surgery is typically based on the explanations and experience of the surgeon. However, it is difficult for patients to imagine the new visual experience provided by some of these lenses. Therefore, it is very difficult to make the decision.”

Dr Dorronsoro told OT that, when the system is completed, patients could undergo a simple, 10-minute test to help them choose.

The current device is monocular, but the next-generation system would be binocular, and sit on a patient’s head like a virtual reality system. This would allow a patient to experience what it would be like to have a different IOL in each eye.

In a trial of the monocular system published as a paper in the journal Optica, Dr Dorronsoro and his team found that patients have very different preferences from each other after the SimVis system demonstrated seven types of intraocular lens to them.

“The favoured or rejected lenses were different for different testers, suggesting the need for this kind of simulation prior to surgery to customise the selection of lenses according to patient requirements,” he emphasised.

While the study did not look at patient satisfaction with their IOL choice following surgery, Dr Dorronsoro explained that: “Our current study designs with the new prototype – which is binocular and closer to the final instrument – will be able to answer this question.”

The device features an optoelectronic tuneable lens to simulate the IOLs and multifocal image quality, Dr Dorronsoro highlighted. The final, smaller and binocular, version could be commercially available by next year, he concluded.