What Does One Offer Over the Other?
Have you read about different procedures that allow more freedom from glasses and contact lenses? Which one is right for you, and is there a benefit to one over the other? Let’s take a quick look at Lasik and Implantable Collamer Lens (ICLs) procedures.
Lasik is meant for mild to moderate prescriptions. This laser procedure can treat a wide range of farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism, with very precise results. Visual results are usually very stable over time. It has quick results, minimal invasiveness and, for the most part, a painless post-op course. There is a risk of dry eyes, and some corneal irregularities can prevent patients from having surgery. With higher prescriptions, there is more tissue removed from the cornea, there can be a higher risk of ectasia — distention of the cornea — and more glare and haloes. Those patients may benefit more from having ICL surgery.
Implantable Collamer Lens
Implantable Collamer Lenses are available as an option to reduce or eliminate your moderate to high nearsightedness. Patients with mild prescriptions may not qualify. This is an intraocular procedure, but it’s minimally invasive and done with topical anesthesia. The lens gives high quality vision quickly after surgery and preserves the original corneal shape. Patients who do not qualify for Lasik because of their high prescription, or a thin cornea, now have a great alternative that offers excellent quality vision and a relatively short recovery period. This lens takes up space in the eye, so eye pressure can sometimes get very high. There is a preparatory procedure that must be done to allow the lens to be implanted safely in your eye. This initial procedure creates an opening in the iris and allows fluid escape in case the pressure rises. This procedure is contraindicated for farsightedness and does not eliminate astigmatism, although it can reduce it. Sometimes patients will undergo the initial procedure and a Lasik touch up to eliminate the astigmatism. Other times, incisions can be created on the cornea to neutralize the astigmatism. The FDA is pending approval of an ICL that does correct astigmatism.
The first step is to have an evaluation with your doctor to discuss possible options for surgical correction. Your doctor will also make sure you don’t have any eye conditions that may keep you from having surgery. Along with your surgeon, you can choose a procedure that will give you the best chance for good vision long term.