The Procedure

Before deciding to have phakic intraocular lens implantation surgery, it’s necessary to have an initial examination to make sure the eye is healthy and suitable for surgery. The provider takes a complete medical history and performs a thorough examination of both eyes.

Patients who wear contact lenses will be asked to stop wearing them before the initial examination so that the results of the exam are more accurate.

Based on the initial exam, the provider determines the size of the lens to be implanted in the eye. This is extremely important because if the lens is not the correct size, it can rotate inside the eye, causing astigmatism or damage to the natural lens. It can also block the natural flow of fluid inside the eye, causing glaucoma.

Just before the actual procedure, numbing drops are placed in the eye. The eye and the surrounding area are then cleaned and an instrument called a lid speculum is used to hold the eyelids open.

The provider makes an incision in the eye. Next, a lubricating medication is placed into the eye to help protect the back of the cornea during the insertion of the phakic lens. The provider inserts the phakic lens through the incision and places it in the proper position within the eye.

Usually prior to surgery, an "emergency release valve" is prepared by making one large or two smaller holes in the iris, in case the pupil is blocked, in order to avoid glaucoma. This procedure is called iridectomy and is generally done with a laser in the clinic. However, it can be done during surgery.

Finally, the provider removes the lubricant. In some cases, the provider may close the incision with tiny stitches, depending upon the type of incision. The provider places eye drops or ointment in the eye and covers the eye with a patch. The procedure usually takes about 30 minutes.

After the procedure, the eyes should be kept clean, and the patient should avoid infectious environments, such as saunas or swimming pools. Eye drops containing anti-inflammatory and antibiotic medications will be prescribed for use until the eye has healed completely. The eye will be mostly recovered within a week, and complete recovery should be expected in about three weeks. During recovery, patients should not lift heavy things, or do anything that elevates their blood pressure. They should also avoid contact sports within the next several months.