My (very positive) experience with Visian ICL.

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My (very positive) experience with Visian ICL.

Postby vexis58 » Mon Nov 10, 2008 1:48 pm

I promised myself I would tell my story after my surgery, to offset all of the bad stories on the internet. I now have close to 20/20 vision in both eyes after living with blurry sight for my entire life, and I could not be happier with the results from my Visian lenses.

Background:

I've been wearing glasses as far back as I can remember. Probably since they were able to put the glasses on my face without me taking them off and chewing on them. Which makes me scoff a little mentally at people who say they've been wearing glasses since they were in their teens. My mom has pictures of me as a four-year-old with glasses that cover up half my face.

I tried using contacts when I was in junior high, but no matter what variety of lenses I used or what type of solution, they would be uncomfortable all day until I took them out. The eye doctors kept saying it would get better after I got used to them, but after a year of putting up with the same problems every day, I just gave up and went back to glasses.

I've been dreaming my whole life of the day my prescription would stabilize so I could get eye surgery, like my father did (he had RK to correct his -10D prescription when I was just a child). I have not been on my father's insurance for a number of years, so could not afford to go to the optometrist regularly when I could still see just fine. I got a good job this year and my own vision insurance, and was happy to learn that my prescription has finally stabilized around -10D at the age of 24.

My older sister (who always wore contacts, her eyes were not as bad as mine at -6D, but were still getting worse even at age 30, she just got tired of waiting for them to stop) had PRK last spring, because her corneas were too thin for LASIK. She mentioned some problems with ghosting, but she said the surgery really wasn't as painful as some people say, it only felt like she had sand in her eyes. Her ghosting problem has since healed up, and she'd recommend eye surgery to anyone.

So I decided to check it out for myself, now that both my prescription and my finances are stable.

I went to the website for the Laser Eye Center that both my dad and my sister got their surgery from (one of the top eye surgeons in the area) and see they have a free consultation, so I make an appointment. Many various tests later, and the surgeon comes in and explains to me that my corneas are too thin for LASIK to be safe (which I expected after my sister's experience) but that with my high correction, PRK is also not an option. He explains to me that there is another option available to me: a lens implant. He says that I have a very large chamber inside my eye, so I'm a very good candidate for this.

I had never heard of this Visian ICL, so after he explains it to me and I go home, armed with a pamphlet full of information and some internet skillz, I set off to do some research. I finally decided to go through with it despite the high pricetag, because I was simply fed up with the cards my genes had dealt me, and I hated that I barely even knew what my own face looked like without glasses. And besides, this is my dream, right? I knew I'd hate myself for not doing it sooner. I scheduled my surgery for the beginning of October.

The surgeries:

The iridotomy to be done a few days before the first surgery was very simple. I'd say it was the most painful part of the whole thing, because the eyedrops they gave me to make my pupils tiny gave me one of the worst headaches I've ever had (which they warned me about as they were putting them in, but I didn't expect it to be that bad!). The iridotomy procedure itself was nothing at all, just a little popping ache in my eye and a flare of light, and it made my vision cloudy for a few hours afterwards (because it kicked up some pigments, the surgeon said, it'll clear up as they settle). By the time my pupils returned to their normal size, my vision was perfectly normal again, and there was no pain. The holes they make are too small to be seen with anything other than a microscope.

A few days later, I went in for surgery on my right eye. Far more time was spent in the waiting room being given various numbing, dilation, and antibiotic drops (and some valium to calm my nerves) than I spent in the operating room. The surgery itself was no big deal. My eye was held open with an instrument, my other eye covered over. A very bright light was pointed directly into my eye so I couldn't see anything except the light itself, which by that point was just a purplish half-circle. I could see bright flashes of light whenever eyedrops were put into my eyes, and the purple semicircle would move sometimes as he would make the incision and insert the lens. Except for a little ache when he tucked the edges of the lens under my iris, the whole procedure was painless.

My eye was a little sore afterwards (and it would hurt a little to blink), and there was a quarter-circle halo to the upper left of any bright lights in the room. Overall I was at their office for about three hours, but the first hour of that was spent in the waiting room getting all the eyedrops, and they kept me for an hour afterward to monitor my eye pressure. I was given a contact lens to wear in my left eye for the two weeks until my other surgery, and after deeming my eye pressure to be good, they let me go home and sleep.

When I woke up that evening, my vision in my right eye was crisp and clear, but my eye was still slightly sore for the first day or two. Over the following two weeks, the most uncomfortable thing I experienced was the contact lens in my left eye. I never could stand them, but it was more annoying to be half blurry. Now nearly a month after, my eye feels exactly as it did before the surgery, except that I can see.

I went in for my left eye's surgery last week. It was a little bit more painful than the right eye, and there was a scary period as he inserted the lens where my vision went completely black and I couldn't even see the purple semicircle of the light. The surgeon said it was normal, and sure enough, 20-30 seconds later, the light reappeared. After the surgery, my eye felt a little bit more sore than I remember my right eye feeling, and there was the same slight halo effect, this time to the upper right. My left eye was quite sore for the rest of the day and the day after, but has been fine since.

The one-sided halo effect persists in my right eye in low light conditions. The surgeon tells me that's completely normal, and it's most likely due to light refracting strangely through the healing incision, which is why I can only see it when my eyes are very dilated. The incision is on the very outer part of my cornea, on the opposite side of where the halos are, which makes sense to me. He says it usually heals up completely within two months, and I'm slowly starting to see some improvement in my right eye when I compare it with my left.

I know this procedure is still relatively new, and does tend to be quite a bit more expensive than a traditional laser surgery. But some of us don't have those options, and I'm very happy I decided to go through with it. Like any surgery, there are risks, but they are rare. Don't think just because all the stories you read on the internet are negative that those people are the majority. And if you have any questions about this procedure from a patient's point of view, feel free to ask.
vexis58
 
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