Phakic Intraocular Lenses

Phakic intraocular lenses (IOLs) are a promising refractive surgery procedure for highly nearsighted and highly farsighted patients.

In the phakic IOL procedure, a thin plastic lens is implanted inside the eye — either in front of the iris or behind the pupil (between the pupil and the eye's natural crystalline lens. Phakic IOLs are currently approved for use in the U.S. and visual outcomes are excellent. Most refractive surgeons today believe phakic IOLs are the procedure of choice to correct high levels of myopia and hyperopia, rather than LASIK.

Advantages of phakic IOLs include no thinning of the cornea and the ability to remove the implanted lens if problems arise or a change in the power of the lens is required. And because the eye's natural lens is left intact, there is no loss in the patients ability to change focus (if they are under age 40 and do not have presbyopia).

Because the phakic IOL procedure is relatively new, no long-term studies are available to assess the procedures potential for complications such as the formation of cataracts and the loss of cells lining the inner surface of the cornea (the endothelium).

Still, phakic IOL implantation currently appears to be safe and effective for many patients who are not good candidates for LASIK.