Interview with Arhur Benjamin: A symfony for your eyes! (part 1)
Attentive readers will recall our conversation about the unique Symfony lenses – a new artificial lens that offers perfect vision and high-contrast at any distance, or even in low light. Benjamin Eye Institute, as always, is at the forefront and has already been working with these new lenses for about a month. They were one of the first in Los Angeles.
Are the Symfony lenses already ideal, or could they be improved upon? Where do we go from here?
Technology never stops, but these lenses are so close to perfect that it’s hard to imagine anything better. So what lies ahead? Well, maybe we won’t even need surgery in 40 years, or even 20. There could be stem cells that regenerate the lens, or we could extract the clouded lens and fill the lens capsule with a substance that optimizes refraction in each individual case. But this is all in the future, and we need to utilize the innovations of our time.
The gap between the invention of the lens and its implementation took a while. A lot of people are convinced that there is certain inertia, so to speak, from the pharmaceutical companies who produce these kinds of lenses and implants. They aren’t interested in progress or these superlenses. Is this true?
Just the opposite. No ones want surgery, and would rather things just regenerate themselves, like in the movie Elysium, but our success now depends both on the lenses and the eyes themselves. If you have glaucoma, even the most magical lens will not help. And if you have retinal problems or macular degeneration, then again there is no lens that can help. Regarding these new lenses, we do what we can.
Identifying which patients could really benefit from it. If the only thing stopping you from seeing well is cataracts, then Symfony is an option.
And what if the lens isn’t a good fit?
We don’t offer Symfony to everyone; only 30-60% of people with cataracts are suitable candidates. Sometimes people will come and say, “Here’s my money. I want this lens,” but unfortunately it isn’t always possible. In order to make this assessment, we must have first class diagnostic equipment to know the condition of your retina, whether you have astigmatism, and what the condition of the optic nerve is. People will pay money for these lenses elsewhere, where they are offered a “lowest price”, but they won’t get the desired result.
So they are just a mismatch for the lens?
It’s impossible to just take everyone at random and see what happens. Nobody wants unnecessary financial or emotional problems. The patient is disappointed and the doctor takes the rap. So you need to come and be thoroughly examined. There’s a cataract, but what does everything else look like? We need a plan that includes accurate measurement, a properly-selected lens, and a properly-done operation to neutralize astigmatism, without complication. We have to sort out the cornea and the problem of dry eyes, which don’t allow the operation to take place even if all other factors are perfect. All these are part of the process.
Do people come to you to repair prior operations?
Someone will come in and say, “I was at this place and they performed the operation; now I can’t see. What can I do?” So I ask, “What did the doctor say?” And they respond with, “The doctor told me that they did everything right, and the fault lies with my eyes themselves.”
Returning to Symfony: I understand that the old lenses are still very popular, in spite of the new lenses’ capabilities.
Yes, and for many reasons. If your retina is such that it cannot see the difference between the old and new lenses, then why spend money on the new ones?
The new lens is creating quite a stir, is it not?
Yes, very much so. It is being advertised everywhere, except for on our website, of course.
The blog is on the website, though. And why is this such an innovative thing?
To be continued
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