The Cleveland Clinic

Eye Implants to Correct Vision

Introduction

Intrasomal corneal ring segments or Intacs are an FDA-approved non-laser surgery procedure to help correct nearsightedness.

Intacs are tiny, clear prescription eye inserts. They are flexible, crescent-shaped rings that are placed in the periphery of the cornea by an ophthalmologist during a simple outpatient procedure. Intacs inserts help flatten the front of the eye, helping to decrease mild nearsightedness in patients.

The Intacs procedure is typically suggested for those patients suffering from minor nearsightedness. The treatment cannot be used to help farsightedness, severe nearsightedness, or astigmatism.

How Are Intacs Placed?

Intacs are placed in a short procedure performed in your ophthalmologist's office.

First, the ophthalmologist numbs your eyes using specially medicated eye drops. Then, the doctor makes a small incision at the top of your eye.

Through this incision, the two crescent-shaped segments of the ring are placed in the left and right side of your inner cornea.

The placement of the rings takes about 15-20 minutes; however, the entire procedure takes about an hour when time for preparation is included.

How Do Intacs Correct Nearsightedness?

Intacs work by reshaping the curve of the cornea, which is elongated in people with nearsightedness.

Once the Intacs are implanted into the eye, there is no maintenance required and patients cannot feel the implants. The implants are similar to contact lenses and can be modified if your vision worsens. Most patients are able to obtain 20/20 vision after receiving the procedure.

Because no corneal tissue is removed when receiving Intacs (unlike with laser eye surgery), patients may undergo further vision correction treatments if necessary.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Intacs?

The best candidates for Intacs are people with mild nearsightedness who have had stable vision for at least a year, are at least 21 years of age, and who have disease and injury-free eyes.

Are There Risks With Having Intacs Implanted?

Like any procedure, there are risks that a problem may arise following treatment. Intacs may cause inflammation of the eye, trouble seeing at night, a decreased ability to see clearly, and difficulty in gauging distance.

The doctor performing your surgery will discuss possible complications with you before treatment. Unlike many other surgical procedures, if the patient is not happy with their results, the corneal rings can be taken out and corrected or replaced to produce the desired eyesight results.

How Successful are Intacs?

Research shows that about 74% of U.S. patients receiving Intacs were able to see 20/20 or better within a year and 97% or more saw 20/40 after the one-year period. These results may vary for individuals.

How Long Does It Take to Recover From the Procedure?

Patients receiving Intacs can usually return to their normal activities within a day or two. The eyes tend to heal and eyesight stabilizes in about a month or so. You can drive a car, read, and work during this healing process.

Reviewed by the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute.




Edited by Charlotte E. Grayson, MD, WebMD, October 2004.

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Last Editorial Review: 6/30/2005