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Not Qualified for LASIK or PRK? – Learn about Verisyse

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    Binoy R. Jani, M.D

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The Verisyse Phakic IOL is an FDA-approved intraocular lens for the treatment of moderate to severe myopia (nearsightedness). The implantable phakic IOL is offered by Advanced Medical Optics (AMO), based in Santa Ana, California.

The Verisyse lens implant was approved for use in the United States in September 2004 for the correction or reduction of myopia ranging from -5.00 diopters (D) to -20.00 D, with no more than 2.50 D of astigmatism.

The Verisyse lens has been used outside the United States for many years: Surgeons worldwide have performed more than 150,000 vision correction procedures with the Verisyse lens over the past 18 years, according to AMO.

How Verisyse Works

Nearsightedness is caused by the cornea and lens having too much focusing power for the length of the eye. In a nearsighted eye, light is focused too quickly, before it reaches the retina, causing distance vision to be blurred. In severe myopia, the area of clear uncorrected vision may extend only a few inches from the eye.

The Verisyse phakic IOL is a "minus-power" lens that is implanted in front of the pupil and is secured to the front surface of the iris. It reduces the combined light-focusing power of the lens and cornea, moving the focal point of the eye to the surface of the retina for clear vision.

The Verisyse lens does not interfere with accommodating ability of the eye's natural lens, so the eye remains capable of seeing clearly at all distances in patients under age 40 who do not yet have presbyopia. (But the Verisyse procedure will not prevent presbyopia, so sometime after age 40, patients with the phakic IOL implant will need reading glasses.)

Although vision correction provided by the Verisyse phakic IOL is intended to be permanent, the procedure is reversible and the Verisyse lens can be removed if necessary.

The Verisyse Procedure

Verisyse phakic IOL implantation is performed on an outpatient basis with no need for an overnight stay at a hospital. The procedure takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes.

The steps required for the surgery include:

  1. A lid retainer (called a speculum) will be positioned under your eyelids to keep your eye open throughout the procedure.
  2. Medicated eye drops will be placed on your eye to numb your eye and to reduce the size of your pupil.
  3. A small incision is made on the side of the cornea. The Verisyse lens is inserted into the eye through this incision.
  4. The Verisyse lens is centered in front of the pupil and attached to the iris (the colored part of your eye) to hold it securely in place.
  5. The corneal incision is closed with stitches that dissolve over time.

After surgery, you will be given medicated eye drops to prevent infection and inflammation. A temporary shield usually will be placed over your eye to protect it. You may be asked to wear this shield at bedtime for several days after surgery.

You should not drive immediately after Verisyse surgery, so you should arrange to have someone drive you to and from the surgery center. Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions exactly to promote healing and minimize the risk of complications.

Typically, Verisyse phakic IOL surgery is performed one eye at a time, allowing several weeks to pass before the procedure is performed on the other eye. However, some refractive surgeons perform the surgery on both eyes the same day.

Effectiveness of the Verisyse Phakic IOL

In a clinical study of 622 patients who underwent the Verisyse phakic IOL procedure:

  • 92 percent had 20/40 or better vision (legal requirement for driving without corrective eyewear)
  • 44 percent had 20/20 or better vision without glasses (up to three years after surgery)

Verisyse Phakic IOL Cost

Verisyse phakic IOL implantation is considered an elective surgery. Therefore, most health insurance plans do not cover any of the costs associated with the procedure.

Most refractive surgeons in the U.S. charge approximately $3,500 to $4,500 per eye for Verisyse phakic IOL surgery. This total fee includes all aspects of the procedure, including the lens and follow-up exams after surgery.

You can lower your surgical costs by setting up a Health Savings Account (HSA) at your bank or contributing to flexible health benefits program at work. Many refractive surgeons also offer financing programs that allow you to pay for the procedure over time at attractive interest rates or interest-free over a limited time frame.

Note: This information is for general education purposes only. It is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice from your eye doctor or refractive surgeon.

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