This is an intra-ocular lens procedure which consists of the implantation of artificial lenses without removing the normal lens. This procedure eliminates the need for glasses and contact lenses. This is mostly for extreme cases currently wearing thick glasses or contact lenses.
A small lens can be inserted through small incisions in front of the natural lens to correct nearsightedness or farsightedness. One type of lens is a tiny but rigid lens. Another approach is to use a flexible or foldable lens implant. Once implanted in the eye, the foldable lens expands to its full size, allowing the eye to remain relatively untraumatized, thus reducing astigmatism and recovery time.
What are Phakic Intraocular Lenses?
A phakic intraocular lens is a lens implanted inside the eye for the correction of either extreme nearsightedness or extreme farsightedness. The lens functions as an internal contact lens as opposed to wearing contact lenses on the surface of the eye. It is usually recommended for patients whose visual correction is outside the range that can safely be treated with LASIK surgery. These lenses are implanted in patients with myopia greater that 12.00 to 15.00 diopters and hyperopia greater than 4.00 to 6.00 diopters. Severe forms of astigmatism can also be treated with specially manufactured lenses. These are ordered to the specifics for your eye. Despite the excellent outcomes in most cases, complications associated with the implants are currently the biggest concern.
Advantages of Phakic IOLs
Phakic IOLs have a number of advantages over LASIK, PRK and other corneal laser vision correction procedures.
- The manufacturing process for phakic IOLs reduces the risk for optical distortions and higher order aberrations that can be caused by laser procedures, especially when corrections for high amounts of myopia are needed.
- Also, because no corneal tissue is removed during the phakic IOL procedure, there is no risk of dry eye problems caused by damage to delicate nerves in the cornea that are important in maintaining an adequate tear layer on the eye.
- Another advantage of phakic IOLs is that, if complications arise, the implantable lenses can be removed or replaced if necessary. Unlike LASIK, PRK and other laser surgery, phakic IOL surgery is fully reversible.
Risks of Phakic IOLs
Because implantation of phakic IOLs is an internal eye procedure, the surgery has some risks that typically are not concerns associated with LASIK and other laser procedures that are confined to the front surface of the eye. A small risk of endophthalmitis is present.
Also, routine and careful eye exams are needed throughout the patient’s lifetime after phakic IOL surgery to make sure the lens implant does not damage surrounding tissues within the eye or cause other long-term complications.
Possible short-term and long-term complications of phakic IOL surgery include:
- Sudden rise in internal eye pressure (IOP) that could lead to glaucoma
- Loss of cells on the inner surface of the cornea (the endothelium) that could cause corneal edema and blurred vision
- Inflammation inside the eye
- Retinal detachment
When considering phakic IOL surgery, be sure to discuss the rewards, risks and potential complications of the procedure with our refractive surgeon before consenting to surgery.