Clear Lens & Crystalens®

Chicago Crystalens Stuart Sondheimer, MD

In keeping with his commitment to offer his cataracts patients the latest advances in technology, Dr. Stuart Sondheimer now makes a revolutionary lens available that is the first and only FDA-approved “accommodating” intraocular lens, the Crystalens®.

The manufacturer reports that the Crystalens® “is the only FDA-approved accommodating intraocular lens that can help patients see near, far, and at intermediate distances, seamlessly, naturally, and without glasses.” The Crystalens® is believed to provide more natural vision because it is uniquely designed to work with the eye’s natural muscle movements (accommodation).


The lens has been in development for more than 10 years, starting at a time when the ophthalmologic community largely believed presbyopia (the need for reading glasses at around age 40) occurred because the aging ciliary muscle atrophied, depriving a patient of the ability to shift focus from near to far. Researchers, however, noticed that as a result of aging, the eyes’ natural crystalline lenses became thick and inflexible but the muscles continued to function. Researchers also observed that certain older patients who had undergone intraocular lens implantation for cataracts were able to both read and see at a distance without spectacle correction. Upon evaluation, it was discovered the patients’ ciliary muscles remained functional and were able to move implanted lenses forwards and backwards. Researchers then developed a uniquely different intraocular lens that could respond to the functional ciliary muscles: the Crystalens®.


Clear lens extraction uses the same technology that has proved so successful in cataract removal. Typically, clear lens extraction patients are middle age and beyond, need reading glasses, and are not best treated with LASIK.

The actual procedure takes about 10-15 minutes, and most patients experience an improvement in vision almost immediately. Phacoemulsification lens extraction has long been the benchmark of excellence in successful outcomes for patients. Clear lens extraction uses that same technology coupled with the state-of-the-art Crystalens® lens to correct refractive error.

Patients ask how LASIK differs from clear lens extraction as both fall under the heading of “refractive procedures.” Simply LASIK is accomplished with an excimer laser that removes microscopic amounts of tissue to reshape the cornea to make it less steep or elongated in nearsightedness. Clear lens extraction requires that a specially constructed incision be made through which the eye’s natural lens is removed. The Crystalens® can be implanted so that patients will see at distance, at near, and in between without the need for glasses or contact lenses. Crystalens® patients will never develop a cataract or require laser cataract surgery.

In addition to receiving Crystalens treatment, patients throughout the area have been visiting Dr. Sondheimer’s modern facility for their vision correction needs. He is widely regarded as a top Chicago PRK and cataract surgery provider.

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