There are cochlear implants to allow many deaf persons to hear sounds they never could before. Wouldn’t be nice if there were implants for eyes? While bionic vision implants are still in early stages of utilization, there are lens implants for nearsightedness/myopia.
Such an implant is the EVO Visian ICL™, manufactured by Staar Surgical Company, located in Monrovia, California. The implant is made from a collagen co-polymer. This material is proprietary to Staar Surgical and is biocompatible with the eye. In addition, it is both stable and flexible, which allows for a minimally invasive insertion. The lens can handle prescriptions of -3 to -20 diopters.
Some of you reading this are probably asking “Wouldn’t it be better to have a LASIK procedure done and fix your eyes once and for all?” The answer is not necessarily. Not everyone is a candidate for LASIK. It requires removal of corneal tissue and there is a limit as to how much tissue can be safely removed. While rare, there is a chance that vision corrected via LASIK can diminish over time, which leads to having the procedure done again. Not to mention, there is also the risk of either over-correction, under-correction, as well as dry eye, flap problems, and even vision loss.
As for the EVO Visian ICL™, no corneal tissue is removed and it doesn’t cause dry eye. The lens is removeable, which allows for the possibility of having to put in a lens of a different power. In addition, this lens treats thin cornea and offers UV protection. It is implanted through a small opening made at the base of the cornea. Once the lens is inserted into the opening the doctor makes the needed adjustments, so that the lens is in the proper position. The procedure lasts between 20 to 30 minutes, is done on an outpatient basis and patients return home the same day.
How well does it work post-operative? Almost 2000 people who had the lens implanted were studied for five years and it was found that the accuracy of refractive correction within ± 0.50 diopter was 90.8 percent and accuracy of refractive correction within ± 1.0 diopter was 98.7 percent.
What do people who have the EVO Visian ICL™ have to say about it? Sara Tso, a chef from Los Angeles, remarked that prior to having to the lenses implant, she was not able to wake up and go without having to put on glasses. Now that she has the lenses, she can “…just roll out of bed and go straight to the farmers market.” She also remarked that since the lenses is implanted, “Nothing is taken away, it’s just something added.” Another person who had the lenses implanted, photographer Andrew Oxenham, remarked that glasses don’t cover the whole field of vision and that he had to overcome those constraints in order to do his work. When he had the implants put in, he could grab his camera and “… just run out and live my life unhindered.”
Thanks to the EVO Visian ICL™ people have another option for vision correction.