When LASIK and Other Refractive Procedures Aren’t Right for You

LASIK is a great option for many patients considering refractive surgery. However, laser refractive procedures aren’t recommended for patients with extreme cases of nearsightedness, corneas that are too thin, or prescriptions that change too often. In some of these cases, surgical implants may be the best alternative.

Implant procedures are also ideal for patients who prefer not to remove tissue from the cornea or are not comfortable with having the flap on their cornea that results from LASIK.

Implantable Lenses

An implantable lens (or “phakic intraocular lens”) is an artificial lens placed inside the eye, similar to mounting a contact lens inside the eye. The lens is implanted in the front portion of your eye to correct nearsightedness and/or astigmatism. And unlike cataract surgery and other implant procedures, the eye’s natural crystalline lens is left in the eye, allowing your eye to easily focus between objects that are far and near.

Some phakic intraocular lenses are designed to sit in front of the iris, while others are made to be placed behind it. Your doctor will help determine which option is best for you.

These lenses are meant to be permanent, and should your prescription change over time, you may be able to do a laser fine tune or have the ICL replaced to maintain clear vision.

Refractive Lens Exchange

A refractive lens exchange and advanced cataract surgery are the same procedure. However, in a refractive lens exchange, the eye’s natural lens is clear, not cloudy as it is with cataracts. Instead, the exchange is performed to correct vision and allow patients to be less dependent on glasses or contact lenses for distance and near vision.
During the procedure, the impaired natural lens is replaced with an artificial one that refocuses the light on the retina rather than changing the shape of the cornea like the LASIK procedure does.

In the past, refractive lens exchange resulted in a loss of accommodation, or near focus, due to the natural lens adjusting power to maintain a clear image as distance varies. Advancements in implant technology now mean that artificial lenses can correct flawed distance vision and also maintain the eye’s focusing capability at near distance.

The implant will not change the outward appearance of your eye, and though the exact shape and size of each lens varies from eye to eye, all are held in place by small flexible loops attached in the same place as your natural lens was attached. Lenses are intended to last a lifetime and are made of materials such as silicone and acrylic that will not irritate your eye.

At Vance Thompson Vision, we’re dedicated to using the world’s most advanced technology in combination with our vast experience to help you see and enjoy life more clearly. To set up an appointment or to ask questions, please contact us today.