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Phakic Intraocular Lens (PIOL)


Intraocular contact lens (IOL) is a type of lens that is implanted inside the eye. Replacing the existing crystalline lens because it has been clouded by cataract or a form of surgery used to change the optical power of the eye.

What is Phakic Intraocular Lens?

Phakic intraocular lens (PIOL) or Phakic lenses are thin lenses made of plastic and silicone that is implanted inside the eye to correct extreme nearsightedness or farsightedness without removing the eye&'s natural lens. It can either be spheric or toric. Toric PIOL&'s has to be inserted in a specific angle to avoid astigmatism to get worse. The lenses become an internal contact lens rather than contact lenses on the surface of the eye. Phakic intraocular lens is recommended for patients whose visual correction is outside the range that can be safely treated by Lasik surgery (laser refraction surgery).

This type of contact lens implant is ideal for patients who are young and for those who are in their 30&'s to 40&'s. Phakic intraocular lens is recommended for people having myopia (shortness of sight), since their eyes are still elastic and can still accommodate. These implants are placed in either two locations in the eye:

  • Just behind the iris
  • Between the corners of the eye (cornea) and the iris (colored portion of the eye)

What does Phakic Intraocular Lens treat?

Phakic intraocular lenses are used to correct refractive errors, problems in the eye&'s focusing power. Ideally, Phakic intraocular lenses causes light entering the eye to focus on the retina (light-sensitive membrane in the back of the eye), thus, providing clear distance vision without needing to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses. Unlike customary contact lenses, one cannot feel the Phakic intraocular lens in your eye/s. Also, no maintenance is required for this kind.

How Phakic Intraocular Lens is done

Before the surgery, numbing eye drops are placed in the eye. An instrument is ascribed to hold the eyelids and then an incision is made in the eye then placed just in front or behind the iris.

Can they be removed?

Phakic intraocular lenses are permanent. While the lenses can be removed by surgery, the return to you previous level of condition or vision of the eye can not be guaranteed.

3 Types of Phakic Intraocular Lens

  1. Artisan Lens - also known as Artisan Optic Iris-Fixilated ICL, most popularly used by Europeans. Eye deficiencies like myopia, astigmatism and hyperopia are usually treated by this type of Phakic intraocular lens
  2. Bifocal Phakic Lens implant - one can opt to use this type if you want a lens that can see up close and at a distance, also this type is a good compromise for people who do not like wearing spectacles
  3. Posterior Chamber Phakic Intraocular Lens - this type of Phakic intraocular lens is placed at the back of the iris as well as in front of the natural lens. The most popular is the "Star Lens" which are made available in the United States

One may not be a possible candidate for Phakic intraocular lens if:

  • You are not an adult - FDA doesn&'t approve anyone under the age of 21 to have Phakic intraocular lens implant
  • Not a risk taker - complications are unavoidable
  • You insisted to change from contact lens or eyeglasses prescription in the last 6 to 12 months in order to establish good vision.

What are the risks of Phakic Intraocular Lens?

Having Phakic intraocular lens involves surgery, so there are risks involved. That is why it is very important to fully understand the restrictions and potential risks of having Phakic intraocular lens implant surgery.

  1. An increased chance of a detached retina (occurs when the retina becomes separated from the essential supportive tissue).
  2. Cell loss in the thin layer of the cornea.
  3. Inflammation, infection and cataract.
  4. One may develop weakening visual symptoms like: double vision, glaring, or decreased vision in situations wherein there is a low lighting level that can obstruct you from performing difficult tasks such as driving especially during night time or foggy conditions.
  5. One may need additional surgery for eye reposition, replacement and removal of the Phakic intraocular lens implant. These may be necessary for your safety and to improve one&'s level of vision.

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