For some patients, laser vision correction surgery is not the best course of treatment, such as for patients who have extreme nearsightedness or farsightedness, suffer from the discomforts of cataracts, or have extremely dry eyes. For these patients, we may recommend the Phakic intraocular lens (IOL). In this form of treatment, an intraocular lens is surgically implanted into the cornea. The lens is permanent (although it can be surgically removed) and needs no maintenance. The Phakic IOL reduces the need for glasses or contact lenses by correcting your vision inside the eye, without removing the eye’s natural lens.
The Phakic IOL Procedure
Phakic IOLs are inserted in the eye and correct refractive errors by focusing light properly on the retina, the sensory tissue on the back of the eye. Because people who are nearsighted have difficulty focusing light and images properly, distant objects come to focus in front of the retina instead of on it, making them appear blurred or out of focus. When a Phakic IOL is implanted, nearsightedness is corrected by bending and focusing light directly on the retina, reducing the need for contacts and glasses. The procedure is also fully reversible.
As with any vision correction surgery, a comprehensive examination with your eye care professional is necessary to determine if you are a candidate. Patients may be asked to discontinue wearing contacts several weeks before the examination so an accurate prescription reading can be taken. Others may need to schedule a procedure prior to surgery, which will help manage the pressure within the eye after the IOL has been implanted.
Phakic IOL surgery is an outpatient procedure. During the surgery, your doctor may use eye drops or injections to numb or prevent movement of the eye. A precise incision will allow the doctor to insert the Phakic IOL in front of or just behind the colored part of the eye (iris). A bandage contact lens and a clear eye patch will be used to cover and protect the eye until your doctor feels it is all right to remove.
Phakic IOL surgery, although minimally invasive and relatively brief, is a serious procedure. Because the incision used to insert the IOL is so small, sutures are often not required, and post-operative discomfort is minimal. Your vision may also be somewhat hazy or blurry immediately following the surgery, and you may notice an increased amount of sensitivity to light. Your scheduled, post-operative visits with your doctor will determine if you will require any additional follow-up care.
At NVISION Laser Eye Centers, risks of the surgery are discussed with the patient prior to the procedure. Proper pre-operative screening and testing ensures that you are considered a candidate only when it is medically advisable. As well, diligent post-operative care helps to identify and address potential healing complications.