Phakic IOLs (Implantable Contact Lenses)
If you are a poor candidate for LASIK surgery because you have thin or flat corneas or extremely high degrees of myopia, our practice offers the Visian™ Implantable Contact Lens (ICL). Visian is a lens that is surgically implanted in the eye (between the cornea and the iris) in order to correct myopia. The implants look similar to contact lenses, are invisible to the naked eye after implantation, and correct vision in the same way contact lenses do by altering the way light enters the eye. Unlike LASIK surgery, placing Visian is a completely reversible process. Although rarely necessary, the implants can simply be removed.
Visian ICL surgery is a brief, painless, outpatient procedure. Most patients prefer to be totally asleep for this procedure and both eyes are generally done on the same day. Dr. Kloess or Velazquez will first insert eye drops into your eye to reduce pupil size and numb your eye with a local anesthetic. An eyelid relaxer will be placed to hold your eyelid open during the procedure. After making a tiny incision in the cornea, the Visian ICL is inserted. The incision is self-sealing and rarely requires stitches. The entire procedure takes 15-20 minutes. Afterward, you will be asked to wear an eye shield for a short period of time.
The Visian™ Implantable Collamer Lens is manufactured from a soft foldable polymeric material called Collamer. Collamer is a proprietary collagen copolymer. The cornea is actually comprised of collagen and so this material provides excellent biocompatibility and superior optical capability. It is readily implanted in your eye behind the iris, or colored part of the eye, by gently folding it and injecting into the anterior chamber through a tiny incision only 3.0mm in length placed by the eye surgeon at the clear edge of the cornea.
Common Questions About the Visian Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL)
Who is a candidate for the ICL?
The best candidates for the Visian ICL are between the ages of 21 and 50, with moderate to severe myopia. It is best if the patient has not had any previous eye surgery and does not have any previous history of eye disease such as glaucoma, iritis or diabetic eye disease.
What are the advantages of the ICL?
The Visian ICL is capable of correcting a wide range of nearsightedness without the need to remove corneal tissue. When properly implanted, the ICL provides predictable results and quality of vision due to its position inside the eye, as well as its optical characteristics. The lens is made of a biocompatible lens material called Collamer which is well tolerated by the eye.
What if my vision changes?
If there are major changes in your vision, the Visian ICL can easily be removed and replaced, or another procedure can be done at any time. With the ICL, one can still wear glasses or contact lenses if necessary and may even be able to have LASIK or another refractive procedure to fully correct their vision. The ICL does not prevent or help presbyopia, or the need for reading glasses due to age.
Does the ICL dry out or get dirty like a contact lens?
No. The Visian ICL is designed to remain in place within the eye without maintenance. An yearly examination by your eye surgeon is recommended to make sure that everything is unchanged and well tolerated.
Can the ICL be seen by the naked eye?
No. Because the ICL is placed behind the iris, neither you, nor an observer will be able to see the lens in place. The visual appearance of the Visian ICL is unnoticeable, and there is no way for anyone other than a trained professional to see that the ICL is in place.
What is involved in the ICL procedure?
The ICL implant surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, which means that you can have the implant surgery and go home the same. As with any surgery someone will have to drive you to and from surgery. Either numbing drops and/or a local injection will be administered so that there is very little discomfort and normally no pain associated with the implant procedure. Some drops or perhaps oral medication may be prescribed and a visit is usually scheduled the day after surgery.
How long can the ICL stay in the eye?
The Visian ICL is intended to remain in place without maintenance. If it becomes necessary, for any reason, it can be easily removed by a trained eye surgeon.
Can the ICL be felt once it is in place?
The Visian ICL is not usually noticed by the patient once it is implanted. It does not attach to any tissues within the eye and does not move after it implanted. For more information about the Visian ICL or to schedule a free consultation, call the Alabama Vision Center at 888-841-EYES!