Intacs® Prescription Inserts
At the Christenbury Eye Center, we are constantly looking into new and innovative surgical procedures in order to offer a broad spectrum of eye care choices. Millions of people have elected to undergo various types of LASIK laser vision correction surgery, including iLASIK. All have their unique approaches and advantages.
Sometimes, though, LASIK is not the appropriate procedure for some conditions, such as cataracts and other eye diseases. One such eye disease is keratoconus, which causes a thinning of the cornea in one in 2,000 people across all races. The cornea bulges progressively into a cone-like shape. Often, everyday activities, such as driving and reading, are difficult to perform. Historically, people who have keratoconus do not suffer total blindness, but nearly a quarter of them will need to undergo corneal transplants. Because the corneas are thin and weak, the risk is too high for LASIK procedures.
There is a way, however, that many patients can avoid the need for corneal transplants. The Christenbury Eye Center now offers the revolutionary new procedure, Intacs® prescription inserts, which can improve corrected and uncorrected vision. The Intacs procedure will help the person who suffers from keratoconus to regain improved functional vision with contact lenses or glasses and, in some instances, without them. Some patients, who eventually need to have cornea transplants following their Intacs procedure, may experience no complications after their Intacs are removed.
Before deciding on cornea transplants, Intacs can provide an effective option to improving your vision. Originally designed and receiving FDA approval as a measure to correct mild nearsightedness, Intacs are now an effective therapy for the treatment of keratoconus.
If insurance is a concern in considering whether to choose Intacs, the FDA has approved a Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE) for Intacs as a treatment for keratoconus. An HDE approval allows The Christenbury Eye Center to market Intacs, and many health plans and insurance companies now cover and pay for the cost of the Intacs procedure as a treatment for keratoconus. Give us a call and we can tell you if your insurance company or health plan covers the Intacs procedure.
About the Procedure
Prior to any surgical procedure, it is common to experience a degree of anticipation and anxiety. It may be comforting to know that the Intacs procedure is far less invasive than a corneal transplant or many other surgical procedures of the eye, and the Intacs success rate is high. Dr. Christenbury has undergone a rigorous training process specific to Intacs.
Before the Procedure
You will undergo a thorough eye examination that will include a variety of standard ophthalmic tests for this type of procedure, as well as general medical tests and a review of your specific medical history.
The Procedure for Intacs
Anesthetic drops are used to numb the eye, which is held open throughout the procedure to prevent blinking.
Step 1: A single, small incision is made in the surface of the cornea. We use the Intralase laser to create the channels in which the Intacs are placed. This makes the procedure quicker, safer, and with better visual outcomes. The procedure is performed with mild to moderate sedation as required, and is an outpatient procedure in the office.
Step 2: The eye is prepared for Intacs placement. To stabilize your eye and ensure proper alignment of the Intacs inserts, the centering guide is placed on the surface for one to two minutes. During this time, the corneal layers are gently separated in a narrow circular band on the outer edge where the Intacs will be placed.
Step 3: The Intacs inserts are placed. After the second Intacs insert is placed, the small opening in the cornea is closed.
Step 4: The procedure is completed.
The placement of Intacs inserts remodels and reinforces your cornea, eliminating some or all of the irregularities caused by keratoconus, in order to provide you with improved vision. Follow-up visits will be required to monitor the healing process and to evaluate the visual benefits of the procedure. Even after a successful procedure, glasses or contacts may be required.