A new type of implantable contact lens made of a collagen-like polymer substance may offer an alternative to glasses or regular contacts for people with moderate to severe nearsightedness (myopia). The first long-term study of the lenses shows they were safe and effective at correcting myopia in the majority of recipients for up to four years. People with severe nearsightedness or thin corneas aren’t ideal candidates for the popular treatment of laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis or LASIK because of the risk of keratectasia, an abnormality of the cornea. Unlike LASIK, the implantation procedure for the new lenses, known as Visian implantable Collamer lenses or ICLs, is largely reversible and the lens is interchangeable. But previous studies of the lenses have reported complications such as cataracts, loss of cells lining the eye, and glaucoma from the implantable lenses.
Researchers say the collagen polymer lens also performed well in terms of safety, predictability, and stability in people with high myopia throughout the four-year follow-up. The new implantable lens may be a good alternative for the treatment of moderate to high myopia. More prolonged careful observation for longer than four years is necessary to assess late-onset complications of this surgical technique.