Nowadays, the most popular surgery for correcting the various forms of ammetropia is the LASIK technique, involving a computer-controlled laser which is responsible for modifying the shape of the cornea to eliminate the patient’s refraction. This treatment is applied for myopia, hypermetropia and astigmatism. Thanks to the major advances made in this field, it is a very accurate procedure with optimum results. Candidates for phakic intraocular surgery are generally those with a refraction with moderate or severe ametropia, especially those who are myopic. It is a good alternative for patients who are unsuitable for laser treatment and want to gain independence from spectacles.
Whilst it is true that public awareness of laser surgery has increased, not only thanks to its affordable cost but also its excellent results, surgery with phakic lenses still remains largely unknown. People are still unable to fully digest the idea of wearing “a lens inside the eye” to correct refraction, as they think that this surgery would be more dangerous and risky.
It couldn’t be further from the truth. Phakic intraocular lenses (IOL) are a safe alternative to LASIK and PRK eye surgery for correcting moderate or severe myopia, hypermetropia and astigmatism. In some cases, the results obtained are even better and more predictable than those achieved with laser surgery.
Phakic IOLs are lenses which are implanted inside the eyeball through a surgical procedure in which the crystalline lens is preserved. They can be placed between the cornea and the iris (anterior chamber), or between the iris and the crystalline lens (posterior chamber). The crystalline lens is not removed during this procedure. These lenses enable the light which enters the visual system to focus correctly on the retina to achieve correct vision and thereby do without ophthalmic lenses.
In short, phakic intraocular lenses perform the same function as traditional contact lenses, but instead of being situated on the corneal surface, they are implanted permanently inside the eyeball. Another advantage is that the patient never feels any discomfort from having a lens in their eye, whereas contact lens users sometimes feel the lens’ presence which can cause discomfort over time. Phakic lenses do not require any additional maintenance after surgery, unlike contact lenses.
It can be concluded that both the LASIK procedure and phakic lens implants produce optimum results and enable the patient to stop using spectacles after the surgery. Additionally, it has also been shown that people who undergo phakic lens implants enjoy better sensitivity to contrast than patients treated with LASIK. Due to the fact that no ocular tissue is modified when implanting a phakic intraocular lens, the visual quality is better than that obtained after applying laser treatment. Although the procedure has now been improved on considerably, with LASIK ocular aberrations increase after the modification of the corneal curvature, causing poorer visual quality in comparison to phakic lenses, mainly in night vision.