Should I Get Permanent Contacts?
If you are getting contact lenses to correct your visual deficiencies, you must wonder whether permanent contacts are a good idea. If you are curious about these lenses, you are in the right place.
Permanent contact lenses, also called ICLs or implantable contact lenses, sit inside your eyes, in front of their lenses, instead of over the eye’s surface like disposable lenses do. While the benefits of implantable contact lenses are appealing, they are not necessarily recommended or suitable for everyone.
This article will highlight some of the things you need to know about permanent contact lenses, but first, you need to understand what they are.
What are Implantable Contact Lenses?
An implantable contact lens is a type of permanent contact lens known as a phakic intraocular lens (PIOL), made of flexible, clear plastic. The most common PIOLs implanted in most parts of the world are the Visian ICLs (intraocular Collamer lenses), which are flexible and soft implants designed to sit comfortably behind your pupil in front of your eyes’ lenses.
Phakic intraocular lenses differ from the artificial contact lenses doctors use in cataract surgery, where implanted contact lenses replace your eyes’ natural lenses.
Permanent contact lenses are usually ideal for those who do not want to rely on spectacles but cannot undergo laser eye surgery. Implantable contact lenses are used to treat astigmatism (where the transparent outer layer of the eye, the cornea, has an irregular shape) or high prescriptions.
Remember that even though these contact lenses are referred to as ‘permanent,’ they are still removable.
Permanent Contact Lens Treatment
The only way you can implant permanent contact lenses is via eye surgery. A surgeon will place the lenses between your eyes’ colored irises and natural lenses. The lenses work with the eyes’ existing lenses to refract (bend) light on your retina, which then helps encourage clearer vision.
The implantable contact lenses are made of collagen known as collamer and plastic. It is a certain kind of PIOL. There are many phakic intraocular lenses, and your eye doctor will advise you on which type best suits you. The surgery is painless and direct.
Depending on the lenses you have, the ICLs will be implanted behind your pupils or clipped in front of them onto your irises.
If you want permanent contact lenses, you must have either a long-sighted prescription of below +6 or a short-sighted prescription of -17 and be more than 18 years of age. Unfortunately, if you have eye health complications, like inflammation, glaucoma, or cataracts, you may not be able to get the surgery.
The Surgical Process:
Seven days before your surgery, you will need to visit an ophthalmologist. The ophthalmologist will make small holes between the anterior chamber (the front of the eyes) and natural lenses using a laser. This will prevent fluid and pressure buildup in your eyes after the surgery.
The doctor may also prescribe anti-inflammatory eye drops or antibiotics a few days before the procedure. An eye surgeon will perform the surgery, and generally, what happens during the procedure is;
- The doctor will ask you to lay on your back. They will then administer a mild local or topical anesthetic designed to numb the eyes so you do not feel anything during the procedure.
- To help you relax, the doctor may administer a mild sedative. They will inject you around your eyes to stop you from moving them for a while.
- The doctor will clean the eye plus the areas around the eye. They will then hold the eyelids open using a lid speculum.
- The surgeon will make a small incision in the eye and insert the ICL through it. The doctor will apply a lubricant to protect the cornea while he inserts the permanent contact lens.
The whole process should take about twenty to thirty minutes. After the surgery, you will have to stay in a recovery room for a couple of hours, where the doctor will closely monitor you. The doctor may prescribe some oral medication or eye drops for the pain.
Yes, you can leave on the same day, but someone will have to pick you up as you will not be fit to operate heavy machinery or go home without a guide.
Is a Permanent Contact Lens Safe?
All eye surgeries come with their fair share of risks during surgery and recovery. However, it is very uncommon to experience any serious loss of vision.
Different contact lenses have various risk factors, and your doctor will guide you through the ones relevant to your situation. You might need annual check-ups after the surgery, but if the surgeon clears you, all you will need to do is visit your optometrist or ophthalmologist for regular health checks.
Why Should You Consider Permanent Contact Lenses?
Besides helping improve vision, some of the other benefits of permanent contact lenses are;
- It can rectify severe nearsightedness that you cannot fix with eye surgeries.
- These types of lenses are less likely to lead to dry eyes, which is perfect for people who suffer from chronically dry eyes.
- They provide outstanding night vision.
- Even though they are considered permanent, you can still remove them.
- Recovery is often quick because no eye tissue is removed.
- People who are not fit for laser eye surgery can get ICLs.
ICL surgery can help reduce the need for you to rely on contact lenses or glasses for good. It is a painless and straightforward procedure that takes half an hour or less. Plus, it has a speedy recovery time.
Furthermore, these lenses are considered to be relatively safe. And despite their title, you can remove them. That being said, hopefully, now you can make an informed decision on whether to get permanent contact lenses or not.
However, if you are still worried about getting permanent lenses, our team is at your disposal for questions and consultations. Book an appointment with one of our experts today and get the peace of mind you need before embarking on the contact lens journey.