The word “Phakic” refers to those who have not undergone cataract surgery and still have their eye’s natural internal lens. IOL stands for “intra-ocular lens.” In the Phakic IOL procedure, an intra-ocular lens is placed inside the eye. The patient’s natural lens is not removed, as it would be in cataract surgery. There are three lens designs under development. The NuVita lens is placed in front of the iris. The Verisyse™, or iris claw lens is attached on the front of the iris. The Visian ICL is an implantable contact lens that is placed between the iris and crystalline lens.
Phakic IOL procedures are being used on severely nearsighted and farsighted patients who may not be candidates for the more common laser procedures such as PRK, LASEK, and LASIK. However, unlike laser vision correction procedures that permanently change your vision, it is possible to remove Phakic IOLs.
Phakic IOLs are for those who:
- want to reduce or eliminate their dependence on reading glasses or bifocals
- are extremely nearsighted or farsighted and not yet presbyopic
- have had a stable eye prescription for at least one year
- have no health issues affecting their eyes
What to expect on surgery day:
You will arrive at the surgery center about an hour prior to your procedure. Once you have been checked in you may be offered a sedative to help you relax. You will then be prepared for surgery. The area around your eyes will be cleaned and a sterile drape may be applied around your eye. Powerful eye drops or a local anesthetic will be used to numb your eyes. When your eye is completely numb, an eyelid holder will be placed between your eyelids to keep you from blinking during the procedure.
Next, a very small incision will be made and the intra-ocular lens will be inserted. The small incision will bond itself using the natural outward pressure in your eye, without the need for stitches. The Phakic IOL procedure is very quick, typically taking less than 20 minutes. There also is a short recovery time. The results of the surgery are almost immediate, however your vision will probably be a little blurry from the anesthesia, so someone will need to drive you home. You should relax for the rest of the day. You may experience some discomfort, but this is usually alleviated with an over-the-counter pain reliever. Most patients resume normal activities within a day or two.
The decision to have a Phakic IOL is an important one that only you can make. The goal of any vision correction procedure is to reduce your dependence on corrective lenses However, we cannot guarantee you will have the results you desire.
Phakic IOL surgery is considered a relatively new procedure. It is currently being investigated in clinical trials around the world. Serious complications from Phakic IOLs are extremely rare, but like any surgical procedure, it does have some risks.
After a thorough eye exam, you and your doctor will determine if phakic IOLs are an option for you. If you are a good candidate, you will be given additional information about the procedure that will allow you to make an informed decision about whether to proceed. Be sure you have all your questions answered to your satisfaction.
Alternatives to Phakic IOLs
Phakic IOLs are not the only surgical procedure designed to correct nearsightedness and farsightedness. To learn about other procedures go to the surgical and laser vision correction procedures section of our Web Site. If you would like to learn more about vision correction procedures from sources other than our practice, we encourage you to link to a number of Web sites we feel provide factual and up-to-date information. You may also choose to make an appointment or request additional information to learn more about this exciting procedure.