What You Need to Know Before Getting an Implanted Contact Lens

The implanted contact lens (ICL) or phakic intraocular lens (phakic IOL) has been recently preferred over laser surgery for those with nearsightedness or myopia. However, it is not recommended for everyone. There are certain criteria for one to be a good candidate for ICL. There are risks involved in the procedure, too. A patient must carefully consider the following criteria and risks before opting for the implant.

At present, the use of implanted contact lens has been approved by the FDA only for adults aged 21 to 45. There are yet studies to be made for population under and over the given age criteria. People with refractive instability or those who have fluctuations in their vision often are not advised to have ICL. Fluctuations may be due to young age (those in early 20s or younger), certain diseases such as diabetes, pregnancy or breastfeeding, and medications. Having a disease or taking a medication that affects wound healing may slow down or prevent proper healing after the surgery. Certain eye conditions and characteristics also increase the risks for patients. These include low endothelial cell count, irregular astigmatism, large pupils, shallow anterior chamber, and abnormal iris. Those with glaucoma and cataract are also not recommended to undergo this surgery. People who are into sports with high risk of eye trauma may not opt for this procedure. The eyes become more sensitive and the implanted contact lens may be dislocated. Certain jobs also proscribe this kind of procedure. It is important to consult with the employer. Cost is also an issue since ICL surgery is more expensive than laser surgery. A good candidate must of course have the means to pay for the surgery. As of now, most, if not all, medical insurance do not cover for ICL procedure or any refractive surgery.

A good ICL surgery candidate must be aware of the risks. Complication may occur during or after the surgery. Since determining the right prescription is not 100% accurate all the time, there may be cases of overcorrection or undercorrection. Overcorrection is when the prescriptive power of the lens is too strong while undercorrection is the opposite. This can be resolved by replacing the implanted contact lens. Like any other surgery, there is also a risk for infections. It is also possible that the natural lens of the eye will be damaged during the procedure, though this is very rare. There is also a slight possibility that the lens will need to be repositioned in the future, thus requiring another surgery. Halos, glare, and double vision are also among the risks but are least expected with the newer types of ICL. Lastly, though cataract is expected for population above 65 years of age, ICL may cause a person to have cataract at an earlier age. Most of these complications rarely happen. Still, it is important to discuss the procedure and its risks with an expert doctor.

Mary Daganzo is an online freelance writer. Her specialization includes health, Psychology, and food.