Good news for people who need eyesight correction, but may not be an ideal candidate for LASIK surgery, particularly, those with both myopia (nearsightedness) and astigmatism (blurred vision) at the same time.
Rather than get separate treatment for both myopia and astigmatism separately, selective patients in the U.S. now have access to a unique treatment program that has successfully been in use in Europe for over a decade, vision toric icl lenses.
What is a visian toric icl lens?
The toric lens is surgically implanted behind the iris and in front of the eye’s natural lens. As one ophthalmologist described the Tor Lens, “It’s a clear contact lens that you never have to replace, giving you sharp vision at a variety of distances.”
Even though Toric lenses have been used for more than 100,000 people, stretching back to 2010 and later, the U.S. Government’s Federal Drug Administration, which has to approve all medical devices and procedures including ophthalmology surgery. only gave STAAR Surgical Company, the makers of the device approval to sell the device in September of 2018 after preliminary trials in the U.S. with 210 patients showed nearly 98 percent reported achieving vision correction improvement close to what ophthalmologists were seeking.
Approval with limitations
The FDA did not give blanket approval to use Tor lenses. Instead, the FDA granted permission to use the Tor lenses only for those 21-45 years of age, and who met various vision corrected parameters.
This restriction certainly contracts with procedures such as Lasik surgery, who’s only qualifying restriction in the United States is that you must be 18 years old.
Ophthalmologists use a variety of techniques to reduce astigmatism while inserting Tor lenses. First, the specific way the Tor lenses are inserted can reduce mild astigmatism. In addition, the ophthalmologist may make small incisions into the cornea of the eye, which helps relax or reduce the astigmatism.
Are there risks for Tor implants
According to Dr. Steven Schallhorn who was part of the early FDA trials, patients with corneal decompensation (a clouding of the opacity of the cornea,) glaucoma (a disease that damages a patients optic nerve,) or cataracts ( a clouding of the eye) are not good candidates for Tor implants, nor are patients that may medically not tolerate the increased invasiveness of the procedure.
So consult a reputable ophthalmologist with experience doing the procedures to see if you are a candidate.
Another ophthalmologist, Dr. Jay Scwartz, suggests that patients with very high prescriptions for both myopia and astigmatism talk to their doctor about the procedure,
One of the advantages os the procedure according to Dr. Swawartz is the procedure is reversible. If for any medical reason a patient has problems with their Tor implant, the ophthalmologist can remove it, unlike LASIK, where once the procedure is done, it is irreversible.
How to choose an ophthalmologist to do the surgery?
Patients that are interested in having the procedure done should interview their potential ophthalmologist carefully.
A visian toric icl in four different sizes and placement of the lens and the appropriate size of the lens is critical.
Because the parameter of this surgery is different from many other surgeries they do, if a potential ophthalmologist has not done at least 50 Tor Icl surgeries, you would be wise to look for another ophthalmologist with more experience.
Also, it is highly recommended that your ophthalmologist be board certified in his or her specialty. Board-certified doctors in ophthalmology may charge more for their surgery, but it is worth it to have the added assurance they are an expert in their field.