Phakic Intraocular Lenses - ICL
Although these are known to be an alternative to LASIK, the results with these lenses are also extraordinary.
What do they involve?
They are called phakic lenses because the crystalline lens is left untouched. An eye containing its natural lens is a phakic eye.
By inserting intraocular lenses, large refractive errors can be corrected. There are two positions: between the iris and the crystalline lens and between the cornea and the iris.
How many types are there?
The first of the two types are known as pre-crystalline or posterior-chamber or ICL (Intraocular Contact Lenses, or Implantable Collamer Lenses).
A flexible lens is inserted behind the pupil through a very small incision (3 mm). These lenses are made to order based on precise measurements of each eye. They can treat both myopia and hyperopia and even astigmatism (toric ICL). They also do not require hospital admission and can be done under topical or local anaesthesia.
However, ICL-type intraocular lenses are not suitable for all eyes. The space between the cornea and the crystalline lens must be measured to make sure such a lens will fit.
Ever since a central microperforation was introduced into their design, preventive treatment of the iris with a YAG laser to prevent the risk of increased intraocular pressure is now no longer necessary in most cases.
An ICL is an excellent alternative when LASIK surgery is not suitable: primarily for vision corrections above the recommended limits or for corneas that are too thin, mainly in patients over the age of 40 years.
Visual recovery is practically immediate, the lens is stable and offers an excellent visual quality, and surgery is reversible as the lenses can be easily removed.
In some cases, implantation of an ICL can help gain up to 2 lines of visual acuity, thus making this an excellent surgical option in cases with poor vision prior to surgery.
This technique can be used in association with LASIK and therefore the capacity of both is multiplied in complicated cases.
The second of the two types are anterior-chamber lenses (placed in front of the iris), which are either supported at the iridocorneal angle or clipped to the iris. They have to ensure no loss of endothelial cells while they remain inside the eye.
Which refractive disorders can such lenses be used for?
ICL lenses can be used to treat myopia, hyperopia and myopic astigmatism. The latter are known as Toric Lenses.
Do they require any special care?
Patients fitted with these lenses can lead a completely normal life, both in terms of work and sports activities, from just a few days after implantation. There is no rejection of these materials. However, both types of lenses need ongoing annual check-ups in order to ensure that they do not cause changes to surrounding structures throughout their useful life.
Do we have much experience?
Here at ICO we have accumulated vast experience in the implantation and monitoring of both types of lenses since 2001.