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September 09, 2009

The ICL Option: When LASIK Won't Correct Your Vision

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Lisa Velasquez was very disappointed when she came in for her free LASIK screening last month after I told her she was not a good candidate for the procedure.  With a -11.0 diopter prescription, I determined that there was not enough corneal tissue to safely perform LASIK on her.  I went on to explain that I could treat this amount of nearsightedness by implanting an ICL into her eye.

The Visian ICL (Implantable Collamer Lens) is a Phakic intraocular lens. It is an alternative to laser eye surgery, and is similar to the intraocular lenses (IOLs) used in cataract surgery but does not permanently alter the structure of the eye. No corneal tissue is removed as in LASIK and other laser eye surgery procedures. The ICL resembles a traditional contact lens and is surgically placed behind  the iris, in front of one's natural lens. Unlike the intraocular lenses used in cataract surgery, ICLs do not replace the eye's natural lens, but work with it, to correct moderate to large amounts of myopia (nearsightedness). Though phakic IOLs are intended to be permanent implants, they can be removed if complications arise or if the patient's vision changes.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. No sutures are required in the procedure.  The procedure takes about 10 minutes, and is performed on an out patient basis.  One eye is treated at a time, a week or two apart.  Visual acuity is remarkably good, even 1 day after the procedure.

Lisa had her surgery last week on her right eye, and "has never seen better!"  She is anxiously awaiting surgery on her left eye.



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