Sushmita used to wear thick glasses. She started wearing glasses when she was in 5th standard. Over years her eye powers increased, and the thickness of her glasses increased. More often than not it was a source of embarrassment and low self-esteem for her! So, when she was introduced to contact lenses in college, she took to it rapidly. So much so that the only time she would remove her contact lenses was when she was sleeping. However, much to her disappointment, in less than a decade she started developing side effects of excessive contact lens use. Often her eye doctor would instruct her to discontinue contact lenses before she was allowed to resume it again. During those times she would hide inside her house for the fear of people noticing her thick glasses. It became a vicious cycle where as soon as she resumed contact lens wear her eyes would start developing some or the other problem like dry eyes, eye allergies, and sometimes corneal infiltrates (corneal infection). Finally, she was advised to stop the contact lens wear altogether and explore alternatives.
At the eye hospital, a battery of tests were performed like corneal topography, corneal thickness, dry eyes test, muscle balance teats, specular microscopy( endothelial cell count of cornea) and AC depth (depth of the front of the eye). Also, we ascertained the health of her retina, drainage angles and optic nerve, among others. After a detailed eye testing, it was clear that she was not a suitable candidate for Lasik or any of the other types of Lasik Like Femto Lasik, Smile Lasik, and PRK. The reason for that was her high power of -15D along with her thin cornea.
However, her AC depth, specular counts and other parameters were good. This was really a blessing in disguise for her given that she really needed to get rid of her glasses and not suffer the misery of contact lenses. I explained to her in detail about phakic IOL’s (Implantable contact lenses) which were a great option for her. After having performed ICL implantations in people for more than 15 years, I felt comfortable in advising Sushmita to consider it.
So, what exactly is ICL and why it is a great alternative to Lasik
- Implantable Contact Lenses (ICL) are tiny thin lenses which can be inserted inside the eye to get rid of eye power.
- ICL’S become part of the eye and do not need wearing or removal like regular contact lenses
- ICL’s are positioned in front of the natural lens inside the eye and require a quick surgery to be inserted inside the eye.
- Unlike Lasik, it does not induce any thinning of the cornea and hence it is a great option for people with higher eye powers
- Since it does not alter the corneal curvature or thickness, the quality of vision in patients with higher power is superior than Lasik
- Unlike Lasik, corneal nerves are not affected, so the possibility of dry eyes is also less
- Unlike Lasik, ICL is a reversible procedure and these lenses can be easily removed from the eye through a minor eye surgery.
- Not everyone is suitable for ICL and it has its own suitability criteria
It is paramount that anyone wanting to get rid of glasses and is looking for an alternative to Lasik, give a serious consideration to ICL. But just like Lasik, a detailed pre-ICL evaluation is mandatory. So, after discussing in detail about ICL, she opted for the ICL surgery.
She underwent ICL surgery in both her eyes in rapid succession. She has been one of my happiest patients. At the end of the day there is no substitute for the joy and convenience that great options like ICL bring out for patients like Sushmita.