Accessibility Toolbar

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute

Lens Implants

Bascom Palmer offers surgical lens implants to correct significant refractive errors and/or when a cataract is present. These implants include:

Phakic Intraocular Lenses

When an eye is too myopic for excimer laser corneal surgery, a more powerful alternative is the surgical placement of a lens inside the front part of the eye. One type of lens, called the Verisyse lens, is attached to the iris straddling the pupil and is selected at the proper power to correct nearsightedness. The patient’s natural lens is left in place behind the new lens which is why the procedure is called “phakic”. Another type of phakic lens is the Visian ICL, which is placed in the area called the sulcus between the posterior surface of the iris and the anterior surface of the natural lens. There is no sensation or appearance of the lens’ presence inside the eye. Bascom Palmer participated in the initial clinical trial of this lens for FDA approval in the United States.

Aphakic Intraocular Lenses

When the natural lens is removed from inside the eye and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens, the patient’s fundamental refractive error is corrected. Normally this is accomplished during cataract surgery when the cloudy natural lens is removed, but the surgery can also be performed when the lens is not cloudy (no cataract present) to correct a patient’s high refractive error not correctable by LASIK. Usually this procedure, called “clear lens extraction” or “refractive lens exchange,” is performed for high levels of hyperopia. Whether the surgery is done for cataracts or simply to correct high refractive errors, various replacement lens options are available. The standard intraocular lens (IOL) used today is a monofocal lens that corrects distance vision. The patient sees well for distance but requires reading glasses to read.

Presbyopic Intraocular Lenses

Newly approved alternatives to standard monofocal lenses are IOLs that focus both for distance and near vision. One of these lenses, the Crystalens, is actually a monofocal lens that has the ability to move forward inside the eye to change focus from distance to near to some degree. The amount of close reading vision obtained after Crystalens implantation is usually good enough for casual reading such as newspapers, magazines and moderate sized computer fonts. Another alternative to standard lenses are multifocal IOLs such as ReZoom and the ReSTOR lenses that focus light coming from both near and distance sources providing a wide range of focusing capability. All of these lenses are implantable during cataract surgery but Medicare and other insurance carriers require that the patient pay for the extra expense of these presbyopic lenses. In addition to the cost consideration, patients should consider the potential optical side effect of nighttime halos around lights.

Thanks to the evolution of modern technology, surgical vision correction is now possible in most patients either as a primary procedure or during the course of cataract surgery. And, as technology continues to evolve, patients have the clear advantage, often finding they no longer need to wear glasses or contact lenses for vision correction.