Phakic intraocular lenses are artificial lens implants that are placed inside the eye while the patient’s natural lens remains intact. Although the first type of this technology was FDA approved for the treatment of myopia or nearsightedness in 2004, the physicians and surgeons at Minnesota Eye Consultants have been implanting these lenses for the treatment of high degrees of nearsightedness and farsightedness since 1998 as part of the multi-center, national research studies.
Patients who would benefit from a phakic intraocular lens implant are those who have a strong glasses prescription, thin corneas or prefer a non-laser vision correction. The surgical technique is similar to that used in cataract surgery, the major difference being that the natural lens is not removed and remains functional. Using topical or local anesthetic, the surgeon creates a small incision in the eye and inserts the lens using specialized instruments. The exact technique and placement of the implant will differ depending on the type of lens implant chosen.
While an increase in vision may be noticed soon after the procedure, the patient will not fully realize the visual benefits of the implant for 6 to 8 weeks following the procedure, during which time the eye is healing. In some individuals another type of vision correction may be chosen to further enhance the patient’s vision.
Visian ICL (Implantable Collamer Lens)
Prior to the surgery a surgeon will make two microscopic openings in the iris. Your eye will be numbed with drops. Once the eye is numbed the surgeon will make 3 small incisions. Next the surgeon will insert the ICL behind the iris and in front of the crystalline lens. This insertion procedure is typically performed one eye at a time. There is very little discomfort and normally no pain associated with the procedure. Some drops or perhaps oral medication may be prescribed and a visit is usually scheduled the day after surgery. Patients will be advised to arrange for someone to drive them to and from surgery.
The NBC Today show aired a segment featuring a live ICL surgery. Click here to watch it.
This link will bring you to the post op NBC Today show piece. They did a follow up to the story telling the viewing audience that the patient had already gone down to the DMV and passed his vision screening, and he is now carrying a non-restricted drivers license.
Is a Phakic IOL Right for You?
Individuals who suffer from extreme nearsightedness most often can have a solution for their poor vision. The Visian ICL can often help those individuals who are not candidates for LASIK eye surgery. Some people cannot have LASIK for reasons ranging from high prescriptions to thin corneas. The Visian ICL often gives these patients the opportunity to experience the same lifestyle change that LASIK has brought to millions.
You're likely a good candidate for ICL if:
• You have extreme to moderate nearsightedness
• You have thin corneas and are not a LASIK candidate
• You have a history of dry eye
• You have large pupils
The Visian ICL (Implantable Collamer Lens), created by STAAR® Surgical Company, is a phakic intraocular lens (IOL) for the treatment of myopia and other refractive errors. Staar® provided the following questions & answers. For more Information on this device, click here.
Verisyse™ Phakic IOL
The Verisyse™ Phakic IOL is used to treat moderate to severe myopia, the medical term for nearsightedness. With over 20 years of use and 150,000 procedures performed worldwide, results show that the Verisyse™ design is safe and effective for very nearsighted people who are tired of thick glasses and are not candidates for LASIK.
How the Verisyse™ works
The procedure involves placing the Verisyse™ Phakic IOL behind your cornea and on top of your iris. This gives your eye another focusing lens that provides high-quality vision more similar to a normal eye. Although the Verisyse™ Phakic IOL is intended to be permanent, the lens is removable if desired.
The word "phakic" means that your natural crystalline lens is left in the eye. This is important because your natural lens plays an important role in helping your eye adjust between seeing objects that are near and far.
About the Verisyse™ procedure
Implanting the Verisyse™ Phakic IOL is an outpatient procedure that takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes. Usually, one eye is treated at a time.
1. Drops will be placed in your eyes in order to reduce the pupil size.
2. For better access to your eye, your doctor will use an instrument to comfortably hold your eyelids open during the procedure.
3. A local anesthetic is given to numb the eye, so the procedure is typically very comfortable.
4. A small incision is made in the cornea for the Verisyse™ Phakic IOL to be placed in the space between the iris and the cornea.
5. The Verisyse™ Phakic IOL is centered in front of the pupil (the black part in the center of your eye), and is gently attached to the iris (the colored part of your eye) to hold the lens in place.
6. The small incision is closed with microscopic stitches that dissolve over time.
7. A temporary shield will be placed over your eye to protect it during the time just after the procedure.
Any phakic IOL may eventually need to be removed many years later when a patient develops a cataract. Additionally, the patient should have regular eye exams to monitor the health of the eye, including the lens and the cornea and the iris.