Implantable contact lenses are another surgical option for vision correction, especially if the patient isn’t a good candidate for LASIK surgery. They are exactly what the name implies, contact lenses that are surgically implanted in the eye to correct vision.
There are 2 are contact lenses that are available in the United States, Verisyse and Visian ICL. Both are approved for correcting moderate to severe nearsightedness, the Verisyse in ranges of -5.00 to -20.00 diopters and the Visian ICL in ranges of -3.00 to -20.00. Patients receiving these lenses must be 21 years or older.
Both procedures start out with numbing drops to the eye, an instrument placed to hold open the eyelid and an incision being made in the eye. The lenses are implanted differently.
The Verisye is inserted and attached to the iris (the colored portion of the eye and held in place with dissolvable stitches. The procedure lasts about 15-30 minutes. The patient will need to wear an eye shield until the followup appointment the next day. If you look closely in the mirror you may be able to see the lens.
The Visian is inserted just behind the iris and in front of the natural lens. It is folded and inserted through a microincision. When in place it unfolds to it’s full width. No stitches are needed to hold it in place. Because of it’s position behind the iris, the lens can only be seen with a microscope.
Immediately following the procedure you may have some irritation or scratchiness. This is temporary and should resolve on it’s own. Most patients have immediate improvement of vision following the implantation.
The patient returns for a followup visit the following day and can usually resume normal activities, such as driving, at that time.
As with any type of surgery there’s no 100% guarantee and there are risks of complications with the procedure. Possible complications include increased chance of a detached retina, loss of cells in the thin layer inside the cornea (endothelium), inflammation, infection and cataracts. Generally, the implantable lenses have been found to be safe, but good followup is essential. One advantage the implantable contact lenses have over LASIK surgery is that they are removable. If severe complications arise or the eye changes, they can be taken out.
I recently underwent corrective eye surgery myself. There are a lot of options out there for correcting vision defects these days. I did a lot of research before making up my mind and would love to share that research with you on my website so you can make the best, informed decision for your own corrective vision needs.