CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — If you’ve been evaluated for LASIK surgery and have been told you’re not a candidate, that doesn’t mean vision correction surgery is unavailable to you.
Those interested in pursuing vision correction should also look into implantable collamer lenses or refractive clear lens exchange. Those interested in implantable collamer lenses can take advantage of a special program offered at Richens Eye Center and receive significant savings by acting before Dec. 31.
The implantable collamer lens procedure involves placing an artificial intraocular lens in the eye between the iris and the natural lens to correct focus. Intraocular lenses are designed specifically to improve vision and mitigate the need for glasses or contact lenses. These lenses are especially helpful to people who are very nearsighted, with or without significant astigmatism.
Implantable collamer lens surgery was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States in 2005, and Dr. Sharon Richens of Richens Eye Center has been performing the procedure for nearly that long.
“The FDA’s approval is for patients older than 21 who are nearsighted in moderate to severe ranges of -3.00 to -20.00 diopters, with or without astigmatism,” Richens said. “Many years before FDA approval, the Visian ICL was approved and marketed in Europe and Asia, with hundreds of thousands of cases completed.”
During implantable collamer lens surgery, the new lens is placed behind the iris and in front of the natural lens. For placement, the lens implant is first rolled into a tiny injector, then gently inserted into the eye through a 2.4-millimeter incision. Once inside the eye, the lens unfolds and is gently tucked into place. Surgery is also fairly quick.
“The procedure takes about 20 minutes per eye, with about 10 minutes of time between the two eyes, for a total surgery time of about an hour,” Richens said.
The procedure is usually done with local anesthetic and very light sedation. General anesthesia is available upon request.
Before having implantable collamer lens surgery, patients are evaluated to determine whether they are good candidates for the procedure. If so, the next step is to consult with their surgeon to discuss the appropriate lens for their refractive error and lifestyle.
Vision correction surgery is not covered by health insurance, except for active military and some firefighters and police officers. Patients who have health care savings accounts or flex-spending plans that expire at the end of each year may consider using their benefits before the end of 2020. These benefits can significantly reduce out-of-pocket costs. Those interested should schedule a free consultation as soon as possible to meet year-end deadlines.
At Richens Eye Center, implantable collamer lens surgery is particularly affordable right now. This is due to a program offered by the lens manufacturer, Staar Surgical, who wanted to offer extra value in light of COVID-19.
Patients with nearsightedness between -3.0 and -8.0 diopters can save $500 per eye on implantable collamer lens surgery. Those with a nearsightedness prescription of -8.5 and up can save $250 per eye. To take advantage of the savings, patients must have their surgery on the schedule and paid for by Dec. 31. The actual surgery can take place in early 2021 without losing the savings.
“We understand this is a busy time of year, and we are here to serve,” Richens said. “So even if you can’t get in for surgery by the end of the year, you can put down a deposit and hold your savings for LASIK or ICL. If it doesn’t work out or if a different procedure ends up being right for you, we’ll refund your money.”
Richens Eye Center recently held a Zoom virtual education session to discuss vision correction surgery options, safety and recovery. A video of this inSight Learning Session is available on the Richens Eye Center website. Patients can also book a free screening for vision correction surgery online. Please call 435-986-2020 for more information.
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