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Phakic IOL (Implantable Contact Lens)
Some people are not good candidates for LASIK eye surgery, often due to extreme amounts of myopia (nearsightedness link) that cannot be safely corrected using a laser. Many of these patients with high nearsighted prescriptions and healthy eyes are candidates for a phakic intraocular lens implant (IOL).
Phakic IOLs have been implanted in thousands of eyes throughout the world. These implants have been in use in Europe for more than 10 years prior to approval in the United States in 2006, following a rigorous FDA multicenter clinical trial. This lens is placed behind the iris and in front of the natural crystalline lens. It is made from a 100% pure collagen copolymer material that is biocompatible with your body’s natural chemistry. Once implanted, you will not feel the implant and it cannot be detected cosmetically. Collamer is an ideal material for lens implants as it moves gently and predictably in the eye. The material’s characteristics are very similar to the natural crystalline lens allowing it to transmit light much like the natural lens.
Not unlike cataract surgery or clear lens exchange, the phakic implant surgery is performed in a hospital outpatient setting. But unlike clear lens exchange or laser vision correction, nothing is removed from the eye. Candidates for this procedure are typically less than 45-50 years old and have a clear crystalline lens that remains in the eye following surgery (i.e. phakic IOL candidates do not have a cataract). The procedure takes approximately 30 minutes and there is very little discomfort and/or pain during or after the procedure. Patients experience good vision immediately following the surgery but are instructed to go home and rest until follow up the next day.
To achieve optimal visual results with the phakic IOL, a comprehensive eye examination, a medical history and accurate lens measurements and calculations are key. In addition, a procedure called a YAG Peripheral Iridotomy is necessary one to two weeks prior to the surgery on each eye. During this thorough pre-operative process, patients have the opportunity to interact with their UCLA eye surgeon and staff on several occasions to have all questions addressed and gain a high level of comfort. Our phakic IOL patients are amazed how much their life changes from reliance on very thick glasses to requiring no visual aid at all.If you are interested in an alternative to LASIK eye surgery or have been told that you are not a candidate for LASIK, we would be happy to discuss the phakic IOL with you. Call The UCLA Laser Refractive Center at 310-825-2737 to speak with our patient counselor or schedule a complimentary consultation.
You are likely a good candidate for the phakic IOL if:
- You have extreme to moderate nearsightedness
- You have thin corneas
- You have a history of dry eye
- You have large pupils
If you are seeking a vision correction or laser eye center in Los Angeles, make sure to get a second opinion from UCLA. We look forward to providing the quality care for you that the community, the country, and the world expects from UCLA.
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