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Traditional intraocular lenses used in cataract surgery had permanent prescriptions. But adjustable lenses offer a better experience.

More than half of all Americans will have cataracts by age 80. Cataracts occur when the proteins in the lens of your eye start to break down, eventually making it cloudy. Treatment typically means surgery, in which the clouded lens is removed from your eye and replaced with a clear artificial intraocular lens (IOL).

Cataract surgery is effective — about 90% of patients report improved vision post-surgery — and quite safe. “Cataract surgery is scary, because you’re having your eye operated on,” said Dan Durrie, M.D., a renowned eye surgeon and consultant to RxSight, a leading manufacturer of intraocular technology. “But it’s really straightforward; it doesn’t take very long and it’s a pretty smooth experience.”

There is one challenge with the IOLs traditionally used in cataract surgery: Many people report their vision isn’t as good as they’d hoped — and if a fixed lens is used, there is no way to adjust the prescription. Luckily, there is another option.

The Light Adjustable Lens

The Light Adjustable LensTM (LAL®) by RxSight® allows you to “test drive” your post-cataract surgery vision.

“What’s unique about the Light Adjustable Lens is that the adjustment is done post-op,” Dr. Durrie noted. “A month after surgery, the patient has the chance to say, ‘Gee, this is good, but maybe my vision needs to be a little better,’ and then you have a chance to adjust it. You can do up to three adjustments, and when the patient is satisfied with their vision, you lock it in. Once locked in, it’s like any other IOL.”

These adjustments are done by your eye doctor in their office and use ultraviolet (UV) light, which the lens reacts to. The adjustments are painless and take only a few minutes, but the patient does need to take precautions until they lock in their prescription.

“You need to wear UV-protective glasses to protect the lens,” Dr. Durrie explained. “It’s adjusted with UV light, so you want to make sure stray ultraviolet light doesn’t affect it.”

Dr. Durrie notes that patients experiencing severe dry eye may not be suitable for the LAL, because the condition can affect the treatment.


The Light Adjustable Lens is a game changer for anyone dealing with cataracts — or anyone concerned for their overall eye health. The ability to adjust the prescription of the lenses up to three times dramatically increases the effectiveness of surgery in improving the vision of those suffering from cataracts.

In one study involving 600 participants, for example, cataract sufferers who received the LAL with the necessary adjustments were twice as likely to have achieved 20/20 distance vision without glasses.

For Dr. Durrie, his experience as both an eye surgeon and a patient has convinced him of the value of the Light Adjustable Lens. “My vision was better that day,” he noted. “I was kind of surprised at how much difference it made. I’ve been kind of driving people crazy. Reading restaurant signs for people — showing off a little!”

He also believes this is just the beginning. “This field will continue to develop and will be categorized on this idea of adjustments after surgery being the norm,” he said. “The products now are working great and I’m sure they will be even better in the future.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the RxSight technology for patients with pre-existing astigmatism of greater than or equal to .75 diopters undergoing cataract surgery. Ask your doctor to discuss the risks and benefits of the Light Adjustable Lens and if it’s the right lens for you.

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