Phakic Lens Implants
Moderate and severe nearsightedness and farsightedness can be corrected with the implantation of an additional synthetic lens into the eye, which corrects the existing refractive error.
The goal of the procedure is to provide freedom from the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses.
This additional lens is also called a phakic lens. It can be used to correct nearsightedness up to -23 dpt and farsightedness up to +12 dpt. Combined with a LASIK procedure, even more severe refractive errors and a potentially pre-existing astigmatism can be corrected (Bioptics). Phakic lenses may also be indicated when corneal laser surgery cannot be performed or is at its limit, for example because the cornea is too thin.
Phakic intraocular lens implants are known for the high potential of exact predictability, the reproducibility of the surgical success and the reversibility of the procedure. One of the factors contributing to the safety of this procedure is the fact that the intraocular anatomy or physiology of the eye is not changed. The center of the cornea is not touched prior to surgery and the anatomy of the eye is not modified.
Course of the procedure
Phakic lenses are implanted into the eye in addition to the eye’s natural lens.
A small incision (approximately 3 – 5 mm) is placed at the periphery of the cornea. Some lenses are flexible and therefore foldable, which reduces the incision needed to 3.2 mm.
Depending on the type of phakic lens, two positions within the eye are possible: Some lenses such as the Acrysof, Artiflex or Verisyse phakic lenses are placed into the anterior eye chamber and secured into place on the iris. Other lenses, such as the ICL, are placed into the posterior eye chamber behind the iris and in front of the natural lens.
Who is a candidate for a phakic lens implant?
Phakic lenses are mainly used for correction of moderate to severe nearsightedness and farsightedness. Younger patients, who do not yet need reading glasses, generally receive a synthetic lens implant while keeping their eye’s natural lens. For older patients, it is usually better to exchange the eye’s natural lens with a synthetic lens of the appropriate prescription.
Besides the severity of the refractive error, the diameter of the pupil when dilated in darkness, the thickness of the cornea as well as some other parameters must be taken into consideration. These parameters are assessed at your initial eye exam at one of the FreeVis LASIK Centers. In a detailed consultation with you, we will discuss which procedure best suits your needs.
For whom are phakic lenses not suitable?
Generally, patients with chronic and progressive disorders of the eye, such as glaucoma and certain retinal disorders as well as patients younger than 18 years old, should not receive a phakic lens implant.
Is an enhancement procedure possible?
Yes. Generally, the implant of a synthetic lens reduces the refractive error significantly. However, total freedom from wearing eyeglasses cannot be achieved in all cases. If a refractive error remains after a phakic lens implant, it can be corrected with an additional laser surgery, also known as LASIK.
Procedures whose sole purpose is freedom from eyeglasses, are considered to be a procedure of refractive surgery and not reimbursable in Germany. Therefore, the costs for the synthetic lenses and for the surgery are not covered by public or private health insurances. This fact also applies to the necessary preoperative exams and postoperative checkups up to 3 months after surgery. For the same reasons, costs for a potential enhancement LASIK procedure are not covered, either. The calculation of treatment costs is made in accordance with the German coding system for the calculation of medical services (Gebührenordnung für Ärzte – GOÄ).
Please feel free to inquire about the costs for a surgery to implant an intraocular lens.
Which problems can occur with synthetic lenses?
When the pupil is dilated at dawn and at dusk, the refraction of rays of light at the edge of the synthetic lens can lead to an increase in glare. Additionally, long-term results dating back numerous years are not yet available for some of the newer and more modern synthetic lenses. Finally, the procedure involves a surgery in the inner eye, meaning that in extremely rare cases severe side effects are possible.
What can you do to see well with phakic lenses?
– Do not rub on your eyes for the first few days after surgery!
– Apply the eye drops regularly as prescribed by your physician; only use the eye drops for the
amount of time specified by your physician; extended use of this powerful medication may
be harmful to your eyes.
– Keep appointments for your postoperative eye exams.
– Schedule a checkup once a year so that possible long-term effects can be detected early.
– Contact your physician immediately if you experience severe pain or a sudden decrease in vision.
Which problems may occur that are beyond my control?
– Glare and halos at twilight and at night
– Infection, an increase in internal pressure of the eye, opaqueness of the cornea
– Secondary cataract