What is a Phakic Intraocular Lens?
A Phakic Intraocular Lens (also known as a Phakic IOL) is a thin, transparent lens that is placed inside the eye to correct myopia (nearsightedness). It could be thought of as an implantable contact lens; however, unlike a regular contact lens, it does not need to be removed, cleaned, or even routinely replaced. A Phakic IOL can remain inside the eye indefinitely. This technology allows people who were once told that they were not candidates for laser vision correction the opportunity to safely and painlessly decrease their dependence on glasses and contact lenses.
Ideal candidates for the phakic intraocular lens are typically those individuals who have:
- High myopia
- Thin corneas
- Irregular corneal topography
- Dry eyes
The evaluation for a Phakic IOL is very similar to that for laser vision correction, but the procedures are different. While LASIK and PRK are performed on the cornea (outside of the eye), the Phakic IOL procedure involves placing a lens inside the eye. The lens is folded and inserted through a tiny, self-sealing incision. It unfolds inside the eye and is positioned between the natural lens and the iris (colored part of the eye). The lens is invisible without the aid of a microscope.
With Phakic IOL’s, only one eye is operated on at a time and the two procedures are usually separated by several weeks. All patients receiving this technology must have 2 microscopic openings placed in their iris prior to implanting the lens. This is a painless procedure done with a laser several weeks before surgery.
Dr. Primack is a certified Phakic Intraocular Lens surgeon. If you are a candidate for this procedure, he will thoroughly review with you the risks, benefits, and alternatives.
The Staar Phakic Intracoular Lens (left) is a safe, painless alternative for individuals who are not ideal candidates for laser vision correction. It is placed in the front of the eye and acts like an implantable contact lens.