Implantable Contact Lenses – Types and Risks By William Goldstein on April 03, 2013

Implantable Contact Lens Surgery

For many people, not wearing glasses or contact lenses means no vision at all; functional blindness. Misplacing, losing or breaking them can be quite an irritation and even dangerous sometimes. For people who want to get rid of their glasses and contact lenses, implantable contact lenses, which are placed inside the eyes, can turn out to be the best solution.


The lenses are especially effective for people with moderate or severe myopia (nearsightedness). They are called phakic IOLs (intraocular lenses), which are implanted surgically in front of the natural lens of the eyes. Studies have revealed that IOL surgery is as safe as LASIK surgery Michigan, which necessitates cutting of the cornea to change the eye’s focusing power.


Implantable lens types


In the US, there are mainly two types of phakic implantable lenses available. Both of them work equally well but the risk factors with each vary.


Verisyse Phakic IOL: This lens is made of plastic. Your eye surgeon would attach it in front of the iris. The lens is designed for people who are 21 years of age or older and have experienced stable vision for the past 6 months with a vision change of less than 0.5 diopter. All individuals who have nearsightedness in the range of -5 to -20 diopters can undergo this implantation.


Visian Implantable Collamer Lens: This lens is made of collamer and is implanted right behind the iris, in front of the natural lens. People aged between 21 to 45 years with a stable vision over a period of 1 year without a greater than 0.5 diopter change are suitable for this lens. The lens provides myopia correction ranging from -3 to -16 diopters and myopia reduction ranging from -16 to -20 diopters.


The risks involved


Verisyse lenses cannot be folded, which necessitates creating a larger incision to insert it. During the procedure, the iris is clipped to house the lens in front of the cornea, which means the lens would be very close to cornea increasing the risk of damage and need for corneal transplant. The large incision also means that the risk of astigmatism is higher.


The Visian implantable contact lens is foldable and can go through an incision, which is much smaller and needs no sutures. But because the lens is placed very close to the natural lens, the risk of developing cataracts is increased. This risk is still fairly rare, and is easily fix-able with a simple second surgery.


As with any other eye surgery, the IOL implantation also poses infection risks. In a small percentage of people, this can even result in blindness.

Overall, the safety profile of implantable contact lenses is excellent. And the results are great too. With the high range of correction that can be achieved, these lenses allow patients who were not a candidate for LASIK surgery to have vision correction.

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Dr. William S. Goldstein

Laser Eye Care Center

William S. Goldstein, MD, has been practicing laser eye surgery since 1991. He was one of the first doctors to offer advanced eye care in all of Michigan and is a member of several prestigious organizations: 

  • American Board of Ophthalmology
  • American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons

If you are ready to enhance your vision, call our office at (586) 323-2020 or request a consultation online.

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