The LASIK procedure is the right answer for most patients who are considering refractive surgery to improve their vision. However, in patients with higher degrees of nearsightedness or farsightedness, the cornea may be too thin to allow full refractive correction.
In these cases, surgical implants may be the best alternative. These special devices are placed in the eyes to improve their focusing ability. Implant procedures offer several advantages:
A phakic intraocular lens implant is one that is implanted without removing the eye's natural crystalline lens. The Verisyse and Visian ICL lens, which is the most common type of phakic implant, act like a contact lens that is implanted in the eye, either in front of or behind the iris. Although the results are usually very good, it can be removed or replaced if needed.
The word"aphakic" describes an eye that has had its natural crystalline lens removed. Aphakic implants, such as accommodating, wavefront-adjusted and multi-focal, are intraocular lenses (IOLs) that are used to replace impaired or ineffective natural lenses, either as part of cataract surgery or a refractive lens exchange.
A cataract is a clouding of the eye's normally-clear lens. The procedure to replace a cataract is very similar to a refractive lens exchange, though the purpose of the lens replacement is different. During the procedure, the clouded lens is removed and replaced by an implant, improving vision and, in some cases, accommodation.
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Refractive Lens Exchange, like cataract surgery, is a procedure in which the natural lens is replaced with an artificial one, such as an accommodating (ex: Crystalens), wavefront-adjusted (ex: Tecnis) or multi-focal lens. Because it is a more invasive procedure, it is used to treat only severe nearsightedness or farsightedness.
Corneal implants such as Intacs are two half-rings that reshape the curvature of the cornea from within, enhancing the natural shape of your eye to correct mild to moderate nearsightedness and improve keratoconus. They can be removed or replaced if your vision changes.