State-of-the-Art Surgical Contact Lens Implants
Currently, two implantable lenses have been approved by the FDA for use in the US. The first is Visian ICL™ developed by Staar® Surgical Company; the other is Verisyse™ from Advanced Medical Optics.
The Visian ICL (Implantable Collamer Lens) is a phakic IOL made from a collagen copolymer that is highly biocompatible. It has been implanted in over 55,000 eyes worldwide. According to Staar Surgical, over 99% of the patients in the clinical trial were satisfied with their vision after having Visian ICL lens surgery.
The lens is placed in behind the cornea between the iris and the natural lens. Because the Visian ICL is positioned inside the eye, it is invisible and undetectable by others. It is also foldable, so a smaller incision can be used during the surgical procedure. This means the procedure is less invasive than other lens implants and does not require stitches.
The Verisyse phakic IOL (phakic intraocular lens) is made from a plastic called polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and has been used in Europe under the name of Artisan®. This material has been used for over 50 years in and over the eyes.
This phakic IOL is attached to the front of the iris in an outpatient procedure that takes approximately 15 - 30 minutes. The small incision is closed with microscopic stitches that dissolve over time. The Verisyse IOL is intended to be a permanent correction, but the procedure is reversible if desired.
Ongoing clinical trials for both types of lenses are trying to determine whether they can address other visual problems, such as farsightedness or hyperopia. There are also clinic trials to determine whether toric style lenses can correct higher amounts of astigmatism. In addition, research into multifocal phakic IOLs may potentially help older patients who have vision problems at multiple distances. Dr. Furlong continues to monitor new developments and evaluate the potential of advances in technology to benefit his patients. If your visual problems cannot be addressed by current technology, please continue to revisit this page for future options.