FDA Approves Implantable Contact Lenses - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

FDA Approves Implantable Contact Lenses

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Lasik surgery isn't for everyone, but there's a relatively new procedure that's letting people see without their glasses. It's called ICL - or implantable contact lenses. A local man who had the surgery says it's changed his life.

Augusto Chavez, a 38-year-old computer consultant, had considered Lasik surgery.

"The surgeon told me I wasn't a candidate for it, my prescription was too poor," he said.

Like others with vision problems, he was worried about complications from Lasik, so he turned to a relatively new procedure - ICL, or implantable contact lenses. He says it was his only option for getting out of glasses.

"My vision is so poor, if I don't have this I can't see," he said.

Chavez turned to Dr. Sandy Feldman of ClearView Eye and Laser Medical Center for the procedure.

"It's a relatively new procedure in which a tiny incision in the front part of the eye, and we implant a lens very similar to a contact lens," Dr. Feldman said.

Several weeks ago, Chavez had the FDA-approved contact lenses implanted.

"This is the premier sort of vision correction option we have to offer," Dr. Feldman said.

And Chavez couldn't wait.

"I've been waiting for this for many years. I'm happy finally getting it done," he said.

After he was prepped, Dr. Feldman inserted the lens in his eye through tiny incisions. The implantable lenses are placed between the iris and the natural lens. The lenses are made of collamer, a material designed to last a lifetime.

The entire procedure took less than half an hour, and when it was over, Chavez sat up and was able to read the numbers on the wall clock.

Now, back for a check-up, Dr. Feldman says his vision is 20-25, and Chavez likes the 'wow' factor.

"Man, I was just like wow. I just kept saying wow... this is great," he said.

Doctor Feldman says patients should be at least 21 and near-sighted. The procedure costs between $3,900 and $5,000 per eye.

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