The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved an implantable lens that helps correct moderate-to-severe nearsightedness and allows the patient to return to normal daily activities relatively quickly. The Phakic Intraocular Lens (IOL) reduces the need for glasses or contact lenses by correcting your vision inside the eye, without removing the eye's natural lens.
Clear Lensectomy (Refractive Lensectomy or clear lens extraction) may be an appropriate option for people who find their prescription falls outside the accepted range for laser refractive procedures, have extreme near or farsightedness, or who may otherwise not be an ideal candidate for vision correction procedures. Clear Lensectomy involves the removal of the natural lens in your eye and replacing it with an Intraocular Lens (IOL), resulting in improved near and distance vision.
How Phakic IOLs Work
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, it corrects this by bending and focusing light directly on the retina reducing the need for contacts and glasses. The procedure is also fully reversible.
Phakic IOL Surgery
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 reading of your prescription 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 ok to remove.
After The Procedure
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.
For more information on IOL and other LASIK procedures, visit our TLC LASIK Blog.