Patients with visual impairments outside the acceptable range for Lasik surgery or who have early cataracts may be candidates for implantable contacts lenses known as ICLs or intraocular contact lenses called IOLs, Dougherty
said. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve the first of these implantable lenses at any time.
ICLs can be a possibility for patients with visual impairments outside of the acceptable range for LASIK or early cataracts.
One that’s already been approved is Crystalens from Eyeonics, the first accommodating replacement lens to provide clear vision at all distances because it’s flexible and works with the eye muscles, Dougherty said. To be sure, the Crystalens procedure is pricey—Dougherty charges $5,000 per eye—and has to be done in a surgery center instead of in the doctor’s office.
These are a new generation of Lens.
The Cleveland Clinic’s Cole Eye Institute is taking a wait-and-see attitude toward the new generation lenses known as Phakic IOLs, Wilson said. While recent trials suggest the lenses now have fewer complications than they did earlier, “I think we need much longer follow-up to know how safe this is for someone who’s 20 years old,” Wilson said. “We plan on approaching this with caution.”
Most accommodating and adjustable lenses, which will change shape by shining UV light on the lens, are still five to 10 years from becoming mainstream options, said Maloney of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Many eye correction methods are not perfectly accurate.
“The problem with any lens or surgery including Lasik is it’s not perfectly accurate,” Maloney said. “You’re never sure you’re going to get 20/20. You may still have a little nearsightedness or farsightedness or astigmatism.”
Ultimately, patients need to consult with their doctors and take into account their prescriptions, the type of visual problem they have, their age and visual needs to determine which correction makes the most sense to pursue, Dougherty said.
Dr. Paul J. Dougherty
Medical Director – Dougherty Laser Vision