Phakic IOLs are similar to the flexible implants used in modern cataract surgery, but they are implanted in the eye to correct vision without removing the natural lens.
They are the option most commonly used for younger people who have a high spectacle prescription and are out of range for laser eye surgery. They are also preferred to refractive lens exchange (RLE) in younger patients because the natural lens is still flexible enough to allow you to read without glasses after correction of your distance vision. pIOLs may also be preferred to laser eye surgery in patients with medical dry eye conditions and keratoconus.The ICL (intraocular collamer lens) is a commonly used type of pIOL. ICLs are soft, flexible implants which are similar to contact lenses, but they are implanted within the eye, and sit between the natural lens (ICL) and the iris. You cannot see or feel the ICL after implantation, and they do not need to be cleaned. Another type of pIOL, which sits just in front of the iris (the Artisan IOL) is also commonly used. Each of these lenses has advantages and your consultant will explain the best option for you after assessing your eyes.
pIOL surgery is normally performed under local anaesthetic and takes about 15 minutes. Surgery is not painful, recovery is relatively quick, and the aftercare is simple. You can normally go back to work the day after surgery. Most surgeons prefer to leave one week between each eye for pIOL implantation, but you can wear a contact lens in the unoperated eye to help you work in the week between right and left eye surgery.
The pIOLs used at Moorfields Private have a well-established safety track record. As with all surgery however, there are some risks and side effects. These vary depending on the type of pIOL used, and your surgeon will give you detailed information on the risks and side effects relevant to the type of lens you choose.
pIOLs are highly effective in correcting the need for spectacles or contact lenses. Most patients starting with high spectacle prescriptions require only thin glasses for some activities after implantation, and many patients are spectacle free. As with most ways of correcting high spectacle prescriptions including glasses and contact lenses, some optical side effects are common after pIOL implantation. These can include halos and arcs of light. These side effects are normally not too bothersome, and become less prominent over a few months after lens implantation as the brain adapts to the new visual input.
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