Could implantable contact lenses be right for your vision needs? Below, our eye care professionals answer five of our patients’ most frequently asked questions about implantable contact lenses and vision correction:
#1: What are implantable contact lenses?
Implantable contact lenses treat moderate to severe nearsightedness, known as myopia. In this condition, individuals are unable to see without glasses or contacts; for example, they may be unable to identify anyone in the same room with them even if this person were standing right in front of them! Implantable contact lenses are surgically implanted into the eye in front of the natural lens. An implantable lens works by bending light rays onto the retina, creating a clear image. These lenses are very similar to contact lenses; the main difference is that they never need to be taken out of the eye at night to sleep and individuals can see clearly at all times.
#2: What are the different types of implantable lenses?
Two types of implantable lenses are currently available: Verisyse Phakic Intraocular Lens and Visian Implantable Collamer Lens. These lenses are made of different substances and designed for different people. The Verisyse Phakic Intraocular Lens is made from plastic and appropriate for individuals who are aged 21 years and older with nearsightedness ranging from -5 diopters to -20 diopters. Visian Implantable Collamer Lens is made from collamer, a substance that naturally occurs in the body. This lens can correct myopia from -3 to -16 diopters or reduce myopia from -16 to -20 diopters.
#3: Am I a good candidate for implantable lenses?
You may be a good candidate for implantable lenses if you have moderate to extreme nearsightedness, have thinness around the corneas, are not a good candidate for LASIK surgery, have a history of dry eye, and/or have large pupils. A comprehensive evaluation with our eye care professionals is necessary to determine if implantable contact lenses are the right solution for your vision needs.
#4: Are there any risks with implantable lenses?
Since implantable lenses require surgery, like any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with implantable lenses. The Verisyse lens cannot be folded, so it must be inserted through a larger incision. The lens also sits close to the cornea’s surface, so there is an elevated risk for cornea damage that may require a corneal transplant. Since the Visian lens is foldable, it can be inserted through a smaller incision that does not require sutures. However, this lens sits close to the eye’s natural lens, which may increase the risk for cataracts. If you are considering implantable lenses, our eye doctor can help you weigh the different benefits and risks as they apply to your specific vision needs and other treatment options.
#5: How effective are implantable lenses?
In clinical trials, 95% of patients had 20/40 or better vision, which is the vision level necessary to hold a driver’s license. After three years, roughly half of all individuals with implantable lenses had 20/20 or better vision.