"I have really high myopia (-19D in left eye and -20D in right eye) and have used hard contacts until now - unfortunately I’ve developed an intolerance towards them. I've never heard of anyone with myopia this high and I'm really worried about my treatment options. Do you have any input or useful information?" - Cassie
You're not alone, about 42% of adults also suffer from severe myopia in the United States. Since hard contacts no longer work for you, a few alternatives for patients with high myopia include switching to eyeglasses or getting an eye procedure.
What is the Visian ICL?
The Visian ICL, or Implantable Collamer® Lenses are approved as a myopia treatment on patients for moderate to severe myopia. If you haven’t already looked into Visian ICL, it’s worth researching to see if it’s right for you. These surgically-implanted Collamer lenses come in powers as high as -15D and treat up to -20D, which could provide a real boost to your vision.
It's important to see high myopia treatment through:
- A consultation with an ophthalmologist
- Refractive Surgery
Types of Myopia
Ranging from mild to severe myopia, its effects on your vision also ranges on how much it impacts your day to day life. There are various types and “levels” of myopia which people may experience throughout their lifetime.
Age on-set myopia explains the various “levels” of nearsightedness we may experience as we go through our daily activities. It’s classified in four categories: infancy youth, early adult, and late adult. This simply states that there’s a normal amount of nearsightedness a large majority of people experience that can be due to the environment we’re surrounded by.
Induced myopia is due to an exposure to various chemical agents or drastic changes in one’s blood sugar levels. This type of myopia is often temporary and reversible, if identified early on.
Pathological myopia causes for prominent changes in one’s eye due to the continual elongation of the shape of the eyeball. This can lead to issues such as retinal detachment, glaucoma, or a build-up of fluid in the eye.
What can the Visian ICL treat?
Study after study has shown Visian ICL to be a premier choice compared to LASIK and similar refractive myopia surgical procedures. Designed for patients age 21-45 with stable vision, Visian ICL is ideal for patients with -3 to -20 diopters. If you happen to have astigmatism, the Visian Toric ICL can treat astigmatism up to 4 diopters and myopia up to -16 diopters. This can be done in a simple procedure that takes typically 20 - 30 minutes.
Why Not Just get LASIK?
We spoke to Dr. James J. Salz, clinical professor of Opthalmology at the University of Southern California about this very issue. He said, “Patients who are above -10 diopters or -11 diopters (which is considered severe myopia) often can't get enough correction with a LASIK procedure.” Salz also added that LASIK simply isn’t for everyone. Anyone with severely dry eyes, as well as specific corneal diseases and other conditions are generally not good LASIK candidates since they may not qualify for LASIK.
"My vision was so bad the army wouldn't accept me," says Christiaan Rollich, who was severely nearsighted. For Rollich, not wearing glasses or contacts meant not seeing at all. "If I took out my contacts, I wouldn't be able identify anybody in the room, no matter how close they were."
Now, however, Rollick has Visian ICL implants for his high myopia and raves about the impact it’s had on his life.
"It's the best money I ever spent, now I have really clear vision. I can do anything I want now. I surf, I do Thai boxing,” she said. “It's really amazing."