We’ve put together these quick comparisons to help you evaluate your vision correction options and to see if the Visian ICL might be right for you.
Similarities of All Refractive Procedures
All refractive procedures are designed to improve some degree of “refractive error,” which may include:
In addition to sharing the common goal of vision improvement, the procedures also share possible risks.
Possible complications include:
- A degree of residual refractive error
Corneal Refractive Surgery: PRK and LASIK
Both LASIK and PRK are laser eye surgeries used to correct myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism by surgically modifying the shape of the cornea. Because of the similarity between the procedures, PRK and LASIK share the following additional possible complications:
Post-PRK or LASIK dry eyes
Glare and halos surrounding lights (especially at night)
Difficulty seeing in low-light situations
In addition to the shared risks listed above, there are other possible PRK complications:
Because PRK surgery requires that the most superficial layer of the cornea be removed during the procedure, there is an increased healing time for the eye. The recovery during the first few days after surgery may be more painful than LASIK recovery, due to the removal of the epithelial cells.
Additional PRK complications include an increased sensitivity to light and the development of corneal haze. Corneal haze is a gray-white opacity that develops where the cornea was reshaped. In most cases, the haze will disappear within nine months. However, some occurrences of corneal haze do not disappear.
Although LASIK has a quicker recovery time than PRK, it has additional complications. Unfortunately, LASIK complications like corneal flap errors, diffuse lamellar keratitis, and ectasia can be quite serious and may be difficult to correct.
Corneal Flap Complications
There are several LASIK complications involving the corneal flap, including an incorrectly cut flap, failure of the flap to adhere correctly, and a wrinkle developing in the flap. These flap-related LASIK complications can cause irregular astigmatism leading to distorted vision. These LASIK complications can occur in both traditional LASIK and INTRALASE® procedures, although studies show a lower occurrence of flap complications when LASIK is performed with the INTRALASE laser.
Diffuse Lamellar Keratitis
Diffuse lamellar keratitis (DLK) is a serious possible LASIK complication. DLK, which can occur in both traditional and INTRALASE procedures, involves getting infiltrates under the corneal flap. As a reaction against the foreign material, the cornea begins to create a layer of fine white grainy cells that appear like waves of sand. Without prompt treatment, DLK can cause permanent vision loss.
Probably the most serious LASIK complication, corneal ectasia is the progressive thinning of the cornea that may lead to the need for a corneal transplant. Although still rare, as the length of time since LASIK was first introduced continues to grow, there has been an increase seen in the number of LASIK patients who have developed ectasia. New patient criteria may curb some ectasia occurrences by screening out people now deemed inappropriate for LASIK surgery. Ectasia is primarily a LASIK complication, however, in rare occasions, it may also occur with PRK.
Visian ICL Complications
As with any type of surgery, the Visian ICL (Implantable Collamer® Lens) carries risk of complications. To help educate prospective patients, the following information outlines some of the most common risks of the Visian ICL implant procedure and those of corneal refractive surgery in general.
Increase in Eye Pressure
In some cases, there may be an increase in eye pressure. If this occurs, a surgeon may quickly remedy the problem with additional medications or surgical intervention.
Complications of Iridotomy
One to two weeks prior to the implantation of the Visian ICL, the surgeon will perform a procedure called an iridotomy. Using a YAG-laser, the doctor will make one or two small openings near the edge of your iris. Complications from the iridotomy are rare, but could possibly include natural lens or corneal damage, inflammation, temporary increase in intraocular pressure, bleeding, and scar formation.
Damage to the Crystalline Lens
Since the Visian ICL is placed inside the eye, there is a potential risk of touching the eye’s natural lens. Damage to the natural lens may cause an opacity of the lens in the most serious case, requiring removal and replacement of the natural lens with a synthetic lens. These opacities, requiring surgical intervention, have occurred in less than 1 percent of the Visian ICL patients.
Comparison of Leading “Phakic IOLs”
The Visian ICL and the Verisyse (Artisan) are both “phakic IOLs” (intraocular lenses) approved by the FDA for vision correction. Below are listed the potential risks and complications of the phakic IOLs.
Both types of phakic intraocular lens implants:
- Correct vision by complementing the eye’s natural lens rather than replacing it.
- Are able to correct or reduce a broader range of nearsightedness than LASIK, including severe myopia (up to -20 diopters of nearsightedness).
- Are referred to as implantable contact lenses (ICLs).
- Are removable if necessary.
- Contain an ultraviolet blocker.
Difference Between the Visian ICL and Verisyse (Artisan)
Although the Visian ICL and the Verisyse (Artisan) phakic intraocular lens share some characteristics, there are several notable distinctions between them. These differences include:
- Lens placement: The Verisyse (Artisan) clips onto the iris and is visible to everyone, while the Visian ICL is placed in the posterior chamber making it invisible to the naked eye.
- Lens material: The Visian ICL is made from Collamer; Verisyse (Artisan) is made from a plastic called polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA). Collamer is found only in STAAR products, including the Visian ICL. Because it contains collagen, a protein found naturally in the human body, Collamer is uniquely biocompatible. In addition, Collamer possesses a unique feature: a UV blocker that provides a lifetime of protection.
- Flexibility: The Visian ICL is made of a soft foldable material and can inserted into the eye through a micro self sealing incision. The Verisyse (Artisan) lens is made out of a rigid plastic material and can only be implanted through a much larger incision. A smaller incision size is preferable because it is less likely to induce astigmatism and results in faster wound healing.
- Procedure time: The Visian ICL procedure is a short outpatient treatment that can be completed within 15 minutes. The Verisyse (Artisan) procedure requires a longer surgery time due to the need to suture the larger incision required for the implantation of this rigid non foldable lens.
- Treatment range: The Visian ICL offers treatment of a wider range of myopia (-3.0D to -20.0D).