DOVER, N.H. — Since the age of 5, Jose Valdez, 26, of Deer Isle, Maine, has been plagued with eyes leaving him both severely nearsighted and in danger of losing his job.
His eyesight is so poor, in fact, LASIK surgery would be unable to match the high prescription range Valdez requires.
However, on Tuesday at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital Valdez’s world may become significantly clearer.
The Visian Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL) is an FDA-approved alternative to LASIK for treating mild to severe nearsightedness. As Erik Deutsch of STAAR Surgical explained, this surgery is a relatively new treatment option for the millions of people similar to Valdez who are so severely nearsighted they can’t undergo LASIK surgery.
“It’s an option for people who can’t have LASIK surgery because they either don’t have enough corneal tissue or because their prescriptions are too high for LASIK,” Deutsch said.
During the procedure, a tiny lens is rolled into a cylinder and inserted into the eye behind the iris. The lens gently unfolds and is placed into position by a surgeon. The ICL provides permanent vision correction but can also be removed if necessary.
A study published in the Journal of Refractive Surgery reports that nearsighted patients requiring -3 to -7 diopters of correction achieve better outcomes with the ICL than with LASIK in terms of vision quality, stability, predictability, and surgical safety.
The procedure will be performed at the Wentworth Douglass Surgery Center on Tuesday by ICL surgeon Tim Peters, M.D. of Clear Advantage Vision.
According to Peters, all the surgeries he’s done thus far have been very successful. “People have been extremely happy,” he said. “It’s also a reversible procedure, but after the 20 to 25 surgeries I’ve done so far, I haven’t had to remove any.”
Peters explained each eye takes only about 10 minutes to complete. Patients are given an IV sedation to make them a bit drowsy during the procedure.
Peters, who has been doing the surgery for approximately two years, is the only doctor at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital who does ICL procedures.
And although the ICL procedure is intended to provide permanent vision correction, the lens can be removed if necessary to restore the eye to its pre-implant state. LASIK, by contrast, is a reductive procedure that permanently reshapes the eye by removing corneal tissue.
As Deutsch explained last week, this surgery is something that could catch on in the future as more people come to realize its advantages.
“Although most people may not know about this now it could really be helpful to a lot of people in the future,” he said.
(c)2012 the Foster’s Daily Democrat (Dover, N.H.)
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