In what is likely to be the first operation of its kind in regional Australia, a 32 year old patient from Hamilton last week received an Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL or Intraocular Contact Lens or Phakic Intraocular Lens) at St John of God Hospital in Warrnambool.
The 20 minute operation was performed by Warrnambool Eye Specialist Dr Vincent Lee and involved inserting a very thin lens into each of the patient's eyes to remove the need for glasses or contact lenses.
The patient made a rapid recovery. Immediately after the operation, she was able to see well enough for the first time to walk around safely without thick spectacles or contact lenses. By the next morning, the patient's vision in each eye was excellent, measuring 6/9, without the help of spectacles. On day 2, she reported that her vision was so clear it was like she was "watching a High Definition television". At the 1 week check, her vision was effortlessly 6/6 or 20/20.
The Implantable Collamer Lens or ICL is like a contact lens but, rather than sitting in front of the eye on the cornea, it is placed inside the eye and therefore, is permanent and does not have to be removed each night or each week.
The patient is a young professional who had required very thick spectacles (-11.00 diopters) for severe myopia or short sight from the age of 6 years. She said that by the time she was in high school,
she had moved to Contact Lenses which gave her new freedoms, but she soon discovered the high maintenance contact lenses required in cleaning and sterilising. This improved with disposable contact lenses but she still found she was not able to wear them for long periods due to discomfort, irritation and redness from prolonged wear. They were also hard to put on and take off. So, for the last 20 years, she has alternated between spectacles for daily wear and contact lenses for special occasions. Needless to say, she was ecstatic about the "amazing" operation and the brilliant result.
The ICL is a relatively new vision correction solution and is different to laser surgery that most people have heard of, for example LASIK or PRK/ ASLA. The ICL has several advantages over the older Laser operations:
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