Implanting Permanent Contacts

Seven's On Call with Dr. Jay Adlersberg
June 19, 2008 4:54:59 PM PDT
For millions of Americans suffering from nearsightedness, LASIK eye surgery seems like the answer they've been waiting for; but not all patients are good candidates for the procedure. For some of these patients, a new surgery is helping them see the light. Seven's On Call with Dr. Jay Adlersberg.

Special education teacher Angela Naughton spends her summers in far-off lands, tutoring students around the globe. As someone with extremely poor vision, Naughton's nightmare was being stranded with no contacts or glasses.

"If anything went wrong there I couldn't get another pair of glasses because mail took too long to get there," Naughton told Ivanhoe. She looked at LASIK surgery but was consistently turned away by doctors who said Naughton was a poor candidate for the procedure.

"We found that her corneas were too thin, which is common nowadays for a lot of people," Steve H. Chang, M.D., an ophthalmologist at Pacific Vision Institute in San Francisco, Calif., told Ivanhoe. "In other words, there was not enough tissue to safely do the LASIK procedure."

Dr. Chang recommended implantable contact lenses; a procedure that implants a Collamer lens behind the patient's iris and restores 20/20 vision.

"We make a few very, very small incisions -- less than three millimeters -- where the white of the eye meets the colored part of the eye," Dr. Chang explained. "We inject a substance in there to keep the space in the eye and then gently inject the lens in, which unfolds inside the eye."

The surgery doesn't alter the cornea as LASIK does. Implantable contact lenses are most effective in patients over age 21 and, because collagen is formed naturally by the body, there's little risk of rejection.

The best part ? if Naughton's prescription changes, the lens can be replaced, allowing her to stay focused on planning her exotic getaways. Most implantable contact lens patients recover quickly and resume regular activities the next day.


Pacific Vision Institute
One Daniel Burnham Court
San Francisco, CA 94109

Phone: (415) 922-9500