Implantable Lenses

People who have a common vision problem such as nearsightedness (myopia) are finding a correction surgery that involves implantable lenses. Implantable lenses may be another choice for correcting your vision problems. An implant that resembles contact lenses are placed between the iris and the cornea, or just behind the iris.

This is an alternative to the LASIK surgery but LASIK uses light rays to remove tissue from the eye to change the shape; the implantable lenses are more like glasses or contact lenses. The difference is they correct your vision inside the eye. This procedure does not need tissue to be removed; they are added to the eye.

The implantable lens is similar to what is used in simple cataract surgery but the lens not replaced but placed inside the eye. Cataract surgery involves removing the lens surgically before another lens is placed in the eye.

If other surgical procedures are not an option a doctor may consider implantable lenses to correct eye problems such as thin corneas. Implants may also be used to supplement or refine other vision correction procedures.

FDA Approved

The Food and Drug Administration has approved implantable lenses for use in the United States. They are Verisyse and Visian ICL. Both companies are based in the state of California.

Verisyse was approved to correct nearsightedness in moderate to severe ranges. The patient must be 21 years old or older. It is made of plastic known as PMMA. This plastic was developed in Europe.

The second company with FDA approval is Visian ICL. Their lens is made from biocompatible material known as collagen. It is easier to insert because it is foldable, which means a smaller incision and shorter recovery times. The approval from the FDA covers patients over 21 who have moderate to severe nearsightedness. This vision correction method has been marketed in Europe for many years.

In Clinical Trials

Clinical trials continue for both of these products and procedures to decide if they can be used to correct farsightedness (hyperopia) and higher levels of astigmatism. Those patients who have a high-level of astigmatism may find help in resolving their problem with the use of implantable lenses.

Many times, patients with high astigmatism are not eligible for contact lenses. This new procedure, if it is approved for astigmatism, may give them freedom from the glasses they may have worn all of their life.

Immediately after the lens implantation, you eye may feel scratchy. Patients are asked to rest at home the day of the surgery and return the next day for a postoperative checkup. Most patients are able to drive and resume their work schedule the next day. Follow-up visits are made to the eye doctor to ensure the implants are functioning, as they should.

Once the lenses are inserted, the patient is unable to feel them. They are made to be permanently added to the eye and never need removal for cleaning.

Complications are always a risk as with any other surgery including the chance of retinal detachment or loss of cells in the cornea. Inflammation, infection, and cataracts are also risks that should be looked at before choosing this vision correction surgery.