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Home » News » Implantable Contact Lenses

Implantable Contact Lenses

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Effective, fast, & safe procedure to correct severe myopia

When nearsightedness is extreme, it can have serious effects on your quality of life. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 8 million Americans have a vision condition that necessitates wearing glasses or contact lenses. However, when you have severe myopia, prescription eyewear may not be able to provide clear vision. In those cases, implantable contact lenses (ICL) may be an effective treatment. To find out more about this progressive solution for nearsightedness, speak to our eye doctors at Eyeworks.

What are Visian ICL - implantable contact lenses?

Also called phakic intraocular lenses (IOL), Visian implantable contact lenses are surgically implanted in the eye, behind the iris and just in front of your natural lens. These contact lens implants can correct mild to severe myopia, and if your vision changes, they can be removed and replaced. Visian ICL does not affect the cornea in any way, it isn’t felt by the wearer, and it cannot be seen by anyone else.

These implantable contact lenses are made from collamer, a collagen-based material that occurs naturally in the body and is biocompatible with your eyes. Your eye doctor will issue a precise prescription for ICL to correct your myopia, and the lenses work essentially the same way as standard contact lenses do: they focus light onto your retina in a way that sharpens your vision.

Are implantable contact lenses a new option?

No, ICL has been approved for use in Europe since 1997 and in the United States since 2005. During that time, more than 1,000,000 eyes have had Visian ICL inserted by qualified, specialized eye doctors. In fact, since 2006, surgeons in the U.S. Military have performed over 10,000 Vision ICL procedures. Over time, studies have shown that this method of vision correction has an established safety profile.

Who is a candidate for implantable contact lenses?

Visian ICL is designed for people between 21-45 years old with stable vision (defined as a change in refraction of less than 0.5 diopters in one year). Implantable contact lenses are approved for use by the FDA in people who:

  • Require vision correction from -3 to -15 diopters
  • Require myopia reduction from -16 to -20 diopters
  • With or without astigmatism up to 4.0 diopters
  • Are in good health, able to undergo the short implantation procedure and recovery period

Several factors can make you an unsuitable candidate for implantable contact lenses. For example, certain corneal conditions that affect the shape and thickness of the cornea, people who require presbyopia correction, and the presence of chronic dry eye syndrome are all contraindicated for Visian ICL.

What does ICL surgery involve?

One eye will be operated on at a time. To implant the lens, topical numbing drops and IV sedation will generally be used. Then, the surgeon will make tiny incisions in the cornea to enable the insertion of a cartridge that holds the ICL. After inserting the ICL into this cartridge and making sure that it has unfolded completely, the corner of the lens will be tucked behind the iris. At this point, the ICL becomes completely invisible. Next, the surgeon must cut another small incision in the iris to facilitate the circulation of fluid around the lens. Start to finish, the surgical process takes about 10-15 minutes per eye.

What is the recovery process?

Recuperation from the ICL procedure is short. You will be able to see out of the eye immediately and leave the eye clinic within a few hours. There is no need to patch the eye shut. For the first few days after surgery, you will need to insert eye drops to help prevent inflammation and infection. It is critical not to rub your eyes, especially for the first 3-5 days. Afterwards, postoperative eye exams are recommended regularly.

What are the pros and cons of implantable contact lenses?

Pros:

  • ICL can be replaced if your vision prescription changes.
  • Quick, effective results – 95% of patients attained 20/40 vision with implantable contact lenses, and 59% had 20/20 or better after three years.
  • Suitable for people with a thin cornea
  • Gives exceptional night vision
  • ICLs have built-in UV protection, while simultaneously allowing natural light to pass through unaffected.
  • Does not induce dry eye syndrome like LASIK and other refractive laser eye surgeries can.
  • A good choice for people with severe myopia, such as -10 diopters, because they generally cannot get sufficient vision correction with LASIK or other procedures.
  • Visian ICL are foldable, so they can be inserted through a small incision that does not generally require sutures.
  • No more wearing thick eyeglasses or contact lenses from the time you wake up until bedtime.
  • Great ROI - while the implantation procedure may seem costly in the short-term, as a long-term investment it has high value for the price (no more eyeglasses and contact lenses purchases). Also, you may be able to use your FSA funds towards the cost; for more information about financing options, speak to our eye care staff at Eyeworks.

Cons:

  • Because the implantable contact lens is positioned so close to the eye’s natural lens, it may cause cataracts in a small percentage of patients.
  • As with every surgery, the procedure carries a risk of infection.

How can you choose a doctor for implantable contact lenses?

Most importantly, find an eye surgeon who is experienced with phakic IOL surgery. Some questions to ask include:

  • How many ICL procedures have you done?
  • What types of problems can occur?
  • Can you provide me with patient references to contact?
  • What will happen if I am still nearsighted after the procedure?
  • What is the plan for handling my astigmatism?
  • If I need further vision correction treatment after the surgery, is it included in the cost?

Contact our knowledgeable eye care professionals at Eyeworks for more information and to find out if you are a good candidate for implantable contact lenses.


At Eyeworks, we put your family's needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 817-346-7077 or book an appointment online to see one of our Ft. Worth, River Oaks & Southlake eye doctors.

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