A Phakic Intraocular Lens (IOL), also referred to as an Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL), is a lens that is permanently implanted in the eye behind the cornea. It is called a Phakic IOL because the eye still has its natural lens. The implanted lens contains a refractive power which compensates for the eye's nearsightedness and can correct refractive errors outisde the range of LASIK, up to -20 diopters. A Phakic IOL may be the procedure of choice for patients with dry eyes or thin corneas that do not qualify for laser vision correction.
The first step is to create two small openings near the edge of the colored part of the eye (the iris) to allow the intraocular fluid to circulate around the lens. This is done one to two weeks before the lens implantation. The actual phakic IOL procedure is a short 15 minute outpatient operation. A small opening is created in the cornea, through which the folded lens is inserted. Once the lens has fully unfolded, the four corners of the lens are placed behind the iris. This makes the lens invisible to both you and others.