some patients are very disappointed when they come in for a free LASIK screening, because many times they are not good candidates for the procedure.
This is because the front surface of their eye, the cornea, is too thin, or they have extensive dry eye or other preexisting medical conditions, such as Lupus or Rheumatoid Arthritis for example.
In these cases, it’s just not safe enough to perform LASIK, but the good news is there’s an alternative and it’s called an implantable contact lens (ICL).
What is an Implantable Contact Lens?
The Visian ICL™, FDA approved in December 2005, resembles a traditional contact lens and is surgically placed behind the iris (the colored part of the eye) and, in front of one’s natural lens. This is a revolutionary procedure because no corneal tissue is removed as in LASIK and other laser eye surgery procedures. You are essentially adding something to the eye, not taking away from it and remains virtually undetectable by an observer.
What is the success rate?
The FDA approved the procedure in December 2005, and has a success rate of 95%. It has been available in Europe for over 10 years and has been implanted in over 40,000 eyes. It has been proven to correct vision problems with precision without the alteration of the cornea, unlike that of LASIK.
Is it a permanent procedure?
Unlike artificial lenses used in cataract surgery, ICLs do not replace the eye’s natural lens, but instead work with it, to correct moderate to large amounts of myopia (nearsightedness) and astigmatism. Although artificial lenses used in cataract surgery are intended to be permanent implants, ICL’s can be removed if complications arise or if the patient’s vision changes.
What happens in the operating room?
The insertion of the Visian ICL™ Implantable Collamer® Lens is made through a small incision in the surface of the cornea. The Visian ICL™ is folded, requiring a smaller incision than other implantable lenses. Once inserted, the lens unfolds to its full size and no sutures are required in the procedure.
Afterwards to ward off infection, you will receive antibiotic drops on the operated eye(s). All in all, the surgical procedure takes about 20-30 minutes.
Los Angeles Visian ICL specialist Dr. Paul Dougherty, who I’ve had the privilege to work with in his Santa Barbara and Camarillo offices is seen here on the TV show “The DOCTORS”.
Dr. Paul Dougherty’s website:
Do I spend the night in the hospital?
You won’t need to stay in the hospital overnight, but the doctor will check on you the day after the operation. Then lastly, your eye doctor will give you a schedule for checkups.
How long is the procedure?
The procedure takes about 10 minutes per eye, and is performed on an outpatient basis. One eye or both can be treated at the same time. Visual acuity is remarkably good, even 1 day after the procedure.
How much does it cost?
The procedure costs about $3,500 per eye and is not covered by insurance, but financing is very popular among patients and will only costs around $100-$200 a month.
What are the contraindications?
- Those who are pregnant or nursing
- Those who do not meet the minimum endothelial density (easily measured in the office)
- Those who are affected by the following conditions: corneal pathology, keratoconus, glaucoma, cataracts, collagen sensitivity, or a previous history of iritis, pigment dispersion syndrome, or pseudoexfoliation.
- Narrow Angles and an anterior chamber depth less than 3.00 mm ( both easily measured in the office)