While LASIK is the most popular form of surgical vision correction today with over a million Americans undergoing the procedure each year, that might change in the future. Implantable Contact Lenses, such as Visian ICL, might be the next wave of vision treatments. Unlike LASIK, Implantable Contact Lenses can treat high amounts of near-sightedness, dry eyes, thin corneas, and possibly even patients with diseases such as keratoconus.
In a comparative study of patients who underwent LASIK and/or Visian ICL it was discovered that the Visian ICL not only compared favorably to LASIK surgery but in fact exceeded the results of LASIK surgery in many categories.
Patients who were in the 8-12 range of myopia were seen to favor Visian over LASIK in a majority of cases. While LASIK has been clinically approved for near-sighted prescriptions as high as -14.00, many doctors avoid LASIK in prescriptions higher than -8.00 or -9.00. Cases of higher near-sightedness, occasionally have problems with dry eye, glare, haloes, and even more serious complications such as corneal ectasias or loss of best corrected vision.
In one study of 769 eyes that underwent LASIK or Visian ICL, the results demonstrated that the visian icl provided better quality of vision. After 1 year 90% of eyes (-8 to -12)that underwent treatment with the Visian ICL were able to read 20/20 visual acuity. LASIK eyes (-8 to -12) showed a much lower percentage of eyes seeing 20/20. While LASIK has a very high percentage of patients seeing 20/20 for low prescription cases (often more than 95% in cases below 3 diopters of near-sightedness), the success rates are lower for patients with high amounts of near-sightedness.
In fact, the Visian ICL has demonstrated that as many as 50% of patients will have vision that is significantly better than their glasses or contact lenses (1 line or more of increased best corrected visual acuity). While Wavefront custom LASIK has proven better results for LASIK, it still does not reach the level of improvement that is achieved by high myopes with a Visian ICL lens.
Not only are the results with a Visian ICL more accurate, but they are also more stable and more predictable. LASIK tends to cause vision fluctuations throughout the first year as the cornea’s tear film changes, healing occurs, and the shape of the cornea reacts to the thinning that occurred. Visian ICL showed a 99% stability in comparison to LASIK which was considered to be 91% stable.
Visian ICL is often recommended for patients with high amounts of near-sightedness, thin corneas, or irregular corneas. It can also be recommended for cases where dryness is a problem or where glare and haloes could cause serious difficulties.
Visian ICL and other phakic IOLs are likely to increase in popularity. Advances in lens technology could eventually overtake LASIK technology. Lenses can avoid the necessity of thinning the cornea and can be designed with superior optics. Lenses can also be placed closer to the nodal point of the eye allowing greater magnification and improved acuity.
While LASIK surgery has been very effective in treating near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism, some people believe that the future of refractive eye surgery might lie in intraocular lenses, especially with reversible procedures such as the phakic IOL.
Look to see future advances in these lenses make headline news and eventually perhaps replace LASIK surgery as the standard for vision correction.
Turner Eye Institute was the first LASIK and refractive surgery center in the San Francisco Bay Area to provide Visian ICL treatments. Dr. Turner has trained numerous doctors in this procedure and has performed Visian treatments upon patients from San Jose, Oakland, Walnut Creek, San Francisco, and other Bay Area locations.
If you are interested in learning more about Visian ICL treatment or LASIK please contact our LASIK coordinators. They will be happy to discuss your options and arrange for you to meet with Dr. Turner for an evaluation.