Phakic IOLs are clear implantable lenses that are surgically placed either between the cornea and the iris (the colored portion of your eye) or just behind the iris, without removing your natural lens. Phakic lenses enable light to focus properly on the retina for clearer vision without corrective eyewear. They are an alternative to LASIK and PRK eye surgery for correcting moderate to severe myopia (nearsightedness), and in some cases produce better and more predictable vision outcomes than laser refractive surgery.
Implantable lenses function like contact lenses to correct nearsightedness. The difference is that phakic IOLs work from within your eye instead of sitting on the surface of your eye. Also, phakic IOLs offer a permanent correction of myopia, unless the lens is surgically removed. Unlike contact lenses, you can’t feel a phakic intraocular lens in your eye and, apart from regular eye exams, phakic IOLs typically do not require any maintenance
Before your phakic IOL surgery, a number of preoperative examinations will be performed, as well as a laser iridotomy to prepare your eye for lens implantation. An iridotomy creates a small opening at the outer edge of your iris, allowing fluid to circulate and helps to prevent a possible increase of intraocular pressure after phakic IOL surgery.
The iridotomy procedure typically is performed in-office and is relatively quick, taking only a few minutes for each eye. It is important that you follow your surgeon’s instructions after the procedure to minimize any possible complications.
Numbing eye drops are first applied to your eye to alleviate any discomfort during the procedure. Your doctor may also give you some medication to help you relax.
An instrument called a lid speculum is used to keep your eyelids open and a tiny incision is made in the cornea. The incision size for the Visian ICL is as little as 3.2 mm due to the flexible and foldable material of the lens.
The Visian ICL is positioned in the posterior chamber of the eye behind the iris and pupil and in front of your natural lens. Once inserted, the artificial lens unfolds. An eye shield is then placed over your eye which needs to be worn for a day .
The phakic IOL procedure typically takes 10 to 30 minutes and is performed on an outpatient basis, although you will need to organize someone to drive you home after surgery. Your doctor will prescribe antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops for you to use at home.
Who can benefit ?
Phakic IOLs are an effective option for people with moderate to severe nearsightedness who fall outside the treatment range of LASIK. When considering implantable lenses — or any refractive surgery — be sure to discuss all the benefits and risks with your eye surgeon