New Vision Correction Lens Works from the Inside Out

A new type of vision correction surgery is now available for people who are nearsighted. The difference is that the correction is accomplished with a lens that goes inside the eye rather than outside the eye. As a result, it can correct far higher levels of nearsightedness than is safely possible with LASIK (laser vision correction). The Visian Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL) is made of plastic and collagen, and is placed between the colored iris and the human lens in a ten to fifteen-minute outpatient surgical procedure. Unlike alternative lens implants available for nearsightedness, the Visian ICL doesn’t require attachment to the delicate iris, and no sutures are needed.

Michael Gressel, M.D. with Cleveland Clinic Lorain (Lakeland Eye Surgeons) has been performing Visian ICL implantations for several months, with remarkable results. “The vision is dramatically improved right away,” he says. “There is a tremendous ‘WOW’ factor.” Dr. Gressel notes that the ideal patient for this procedure is someone too nearsighted to be an ideal candidate for LASIK, or whose cornea is too thin or atypically shaped. Studies have shown that better quality of vision results from using a lens implanted inside the eye rather than performing LASIK when correcting extremely high levels of nearsightedness. “This is because placing the correction inside the eye doesn’t require us to degrade the normal optics of the clear cornea, such as occurs when LASIK is used to correct extreme degrees of nearsightedness,” according to Dr. Gressel.

Maria Jones had left the doctor’s office in tears on two previous occasions in years past when told that she was too nearsighted for radial keratotomy (RK) and then subsequently for LASIK. “I had been waiting a long time for the next procedure to come along, and that was the Visian ICL,” she says. After undergoing the Visian ICL procedure on both eyes (a week apart), she describes it as “a breeze – nothing to it. It was quick, and there was no pain.” After the surgery, Maria’s vision improved immediately. “It’s like a new world!” she says. “It’s amazing to wake up and be able to see the alarm clock without glasses or contacts. My vision is better now than it was with contacts.”

Dependence on “coke-bottle” glasses starting at age 4 caused Tricia Chervenak to be teased throughout her early school years. Later in life, recurrent infections kept her from being a successful contact lens wearer. Hearing from doctors that she was too nearsighted for LASIK only added insult to injury. She had always worried that her vision would prevent her from safely escaping a fire if it occurred in the home. So when Dr. Gressel told Tricia she was a candidate for the Visian ICL, she was “too excited to be nervous.” Not only is she thrilled with the results of her surgery, but she expresses gratitude for the “wonderful” way she was treated by the personnel at Cleveland Clinic Lorain Ambulatory Surgery Center.

A very active life style made glasses and contact lenses far from ideal for Cindy Millner, but she had been told that she was so nearsighted that there was an increased risk of visual complications from LASIK. “When working with special-need children, getting glasses knocked off my face was always a concern,” she relates. “Because I work with animals in a dusty environment and also enjoy riding motorcycles, contact lenses were just a hassle.” Visian ICL surgery has made a “huge impact” on Cindy’s quality of life, and she notes that she no longer needs to “feel around for glasses when awakening in the morning.” Freedom from the “helpless feeling” of dependence on glasses and contact lenses is a sentiment echoed by Visian ICL recipient Lynette Zeman. “Now if one of my children runs into the room in the middle of the night, I can tell which one it is!” she says.

To learn more about the Visian ICL and schedule an evaluation to determine if you are a candidate, you can call Cleveland Clinic Lorain (Lakeland Eye Surgeons) at 440.988.4040.