Phakic IOLs: Explore What Are They, How They Work & Much More

phakic intraocular lens implants

With the progression of refractive surgery, solutions for vision correction have evolved remarkably, offering a variety of options tailored to individual needs. One such breakthrough is Phakic Intraocular Lens (pIOL) implants. This comprehensive guide aims to provide detailed insights into phakic intraocular lens implants, shedding light on their procedure, benefits, potential risks, and much more.

What are Phakic Intraocular Lens Implants?

What are Phakic Intraocular Lens ImplantsPhakic Intraocular Lens (pIOL) implants, also known as implantable contact lenses, are a type of refractive surgical procedure designed to correct vision. They’re a powerful solution for individuals with moderate to high degrees of myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism.

Unlike procedures such as LASIK or PRK, which reshape the cornea, pIOLs involve the insertion of a lens into the eye to correct refractive errors. These lenses work in conjunction with your natural lens to focus light onto the retina and improve vision. Hence, the term ‘phakic,’ refers to an eye that still contains its natural lens.

How Do Phakic Intraocular Lens Implants Work?

Phakic intraocular lens implants (pIOLs) work by enhancing the eye’s natural lens’s ability to focus light onto the retina, thereby improving vision. In a normal eye, light enters through the cornea and is further refracted by the natural crystalline lens inside the eye. This focused light then reaches the retina, which sends the image to the brain through the optic nerve, resulting in visual perception.

In cases of refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), or astigmatism, the light isn’t accurately focused on the retina, leading to blurry vision.

Phakic IOLs are designed to correct these refractive errors. They are inserted into the eye and work in conjunction with the natural lens. Depending on the type of pIOL and the specific refractive error, the implanted lens is positioned either in front of or behind the iris.

The implanted pIOL refracts the incoming light, ensuring it is properly focused on the retina, thereby correcting the vision error. This functionality makes phakic IOLs particularly effective for individuals across a wide range of ages.

How are Phakic Intraocular Lenses Implanted?

How are Phakic Intraocular Lenses ImplantedPhakic intraocular lens implantation is a 15-30 minutes surgical procedure that corrects vision. Here’s an outline of the general steps involved in this process:

  • Preparation: Preparation involves numbing the eye with anesthetic drops and giving mild sedatives for relaxation.
  • Creating the Incision: The surgeon creates a small incision in the cornea or sclera for lens insertion. The size of the incision can vary but it’s typically between 2.2 to 3 millimeters.
  • Inserting the Lens: The pIOL is then inserted through the incision. It’s folded up or rolled up for insertion, and then it unfolds or unrolls once it’s in place.
  • Positioning the Lens:  The lens is positioned either between the cornea and the iris or just behind the iris. In either case, your natural lens is left in place.
  • Finalizing the Procedure: Once the lens is correctly positioned, the surgeon will check to ensure it is secure. The incision is usually self-sealing, so stitches are typically not needed.

Types of Phakic Intraocular Lenses

There are primarily two types of phakic IOLs used in refractive surgery. They are categorized based on their placement within the eye. Each type has its own advantages and potential drawbacks, and the choice between them largely depends on the patient’s specific circumstances and needs.

  • Anterior Chamber pIOLs: Anterior chamber lenses are placed in front of the iris, the colored part of the eye, and behind the cornea. These lenses are held in place by the natural pressure within the eye or are attached to the colored part of the eye, called the iris.
  • Posterior Chamber pIOLs: Posterior chamber lenses are positioned behind the iris and in front of the natural lens. The Visian ICL (implantable collamer lens) is a well-known type of posterior chamber pIOL.
    Posterior chamber lenses have become more popular in recent years due to their compatibility with the eye’s natural anatomy, which allows for excellent optical quality and a lower risk of damage to the cornea. Moreover, since these lenses are positioned closer to the natural lens, they have a less significant impact on the quality of vision and the incidence of glare or halos.

Benefits of Phakic Intraocular Lens Implants

Phakic Intraocular Lens (pIOL) implants offer several advantages that make them a popular choice for vision correction:

  • High-Quality Vision:
    pIOLs provide high-quality, high-definition vision. They often result in better contrast sensitivity and fewer issues with glare and halos compared to other refractive surgeries.
  • Wide Range of Correction:
    These lenses can correct a broad range of refractive errors, including moderate to high levels of myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism, often beyond the range that laser procedures like LASIK can handle.
  • Preservation of Corneal Structure:
    Unlike LASIK or PRK, which involve reshaping the cornea, pIOL implantation maintains the natural structure of the cornea, making it an excellent option for those with thin corneas.
  • Reversible Procedure:
    If for any reason the pIOL needs to be removed or replaced, the procedure is reversible, offering an added level of flexibility.
  • No Dry Eye Syndrome:
    Patients with pIOLs typically report fewer issues with dry eyes compared to those who undergo LASIK.

Potential Risks and Side Effects of Phakic Intraocular Lens Implants

While pIOLs offer numerous benefits, as with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and side effects:

  • Cataract Formation: There’s a small risk of cataract formation, especially with posterior chamber lenses. A cataract can cloud the eye’s natural lens, impairing vision.
  • Increased Intraocular Pressure: The procedure may cause a temporary rise in intraocular pressure. If not controlled, this could potentially lead to glaucoma.
  • Endothelial Cell Loss: This refers to the loss of cells on the inner surface of the cornea, which can affect corneal health. This risk is typically higher with anterior chamber lenses.
  • Risk of Infection: As with any surgical procedure, there’s a small risk of infection, though it’s rare.
  • Night Vision Problems: Some patients may experience glare, halos, or starbursts around lights at night.

Who Are the Ideal Candidates for Phakic Intraocular Lens Implants?

Who Are the Ideal Candidates for Phakic IOLsPhakic IOL can be an excellent solution for individuals looking to correct refractive errors and improve their vision. However, not everyone is a suitable candidate for this procedure. Ideal candidates for pIOLs typically include individuals who:]

  • Have a Stable Vision:
    Your prescription should have been stable for at least one year. This is because changes in your vision can affect the effectiveness of the implanted lens.
  • Have Moderate to High Refractive Errors:
    Individuals with moderate to high levels of myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism often find pIOLs particularly beneficial. These lenses can correct refractive errors beyond the capacity of laser procedures like LASIK.
  • Are Not Candidates for LASIK or PRK:
    If you have thin corneas, dry eyes, or other conditions that make you unsuitable for LASIK or PRK, pIOLs can be a good alternative.
  • Are Aged 21 or Older:
    While there’s no upper age limit for the procedure, candidates should be at least 21 years old. This is because younger individuals may still have eyes that are growing or changing.
  • Have Adequate Anterior Chamber Depth:
    To accommodate the implanted lens, your eye must have sufficient space in the space between the cornea and the iris).
  • Do Not Have Other Eye Conditions:
    Candidates should not have other eye conditions such as glaucoma, iritis, or corneal endothelial dystrophy.

What To Expect After Phakic IOL Implantation

After undergoing phakic intraocular lens (pIOL) implantation, it’s important to know what to expect during the recovery and aftercare period.

  • Immediately after the procedure, your eye might feel slightly irritated or scratchy. You may also experience blurry vision, and light sensitivity, or see halos around lights.
  • Many patients notice an immediate improvement in their vision, although the final results may not be evident until a few weeks after the procedure.
  • Most people can return to their normal activities within a few days. However, you should avoid severe activities and rubbing your eyes for a couple of weeks to ensure proper healing.
  • You’ll need to schedule follow-up appointments with your ophthalmologist to monitor the healing process. The first check-up usually happens a day after surgery, followed by regular appointments after a week, or a month, and then periodically as advised by your doctor. During these visits, your doctor will check your vision, ensure the lens is in the right position, and confirm there are no complications.
  • Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics and anti-inflammatory eye drops to prevent infection and reduce inflammation. It’s essential to follow your doctor’s instructions regarding their use.
  • Regular eye examinations should be part of your routine even after you’ve fully recovered. These regular checks help ensure your eyes remain healthy and your vision remains clear.

Remember, everyone’s experience can slightly vary after the procedure, depending on individual healing responses and the specific type of lens used. However, phakic IOL implantation has a high success rate, and complications are rare when the procedure is performed by an experienced surgeon.


Phakic Intraocular Lens implants offer a promising solution for those seeking to correct refractive errors and improve their vision. This safe and effective procedure provides a wide range of corrections.

While Phakic IOLs may be the perfect fit for some, it’s crucial to remember that eye care is not a one-size-fits-all domain. There are several corrective eye surgery options available. EyeMantra offers personalized, cutting-edge eye care solutions. We offer the most advanced LASIK options, including PRK, Femto Lasik, SMILE surgery, Standard LASIK, ICL, and Contoura vision. If you have any questions on Lasik surgery in Delhi, Lasik surgery cost, and Lasik procedure, call us at 9711116605 or email at [email protected].

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