Intrastromal corneal rings, also known as intracorneal rings are two small, rainbow shaped pieces of plastic that are implanted in the eye to correct poor vision.
What does the surgery entail?
Eye drops are put in your eye to make your eye numb, this is a local anesthetic and is carried out by a doctor.
The doctor will make an incision in the cornea; the doctor creates tunnels between the corneal stroma and the crescent shaped pieces of plastic are then placed in the eye between the corneal stroma, which is a fluid filled area where light reactions take place.
Once the intracorneal rings are in place the doctor uses stitches to close the incisions made and you are allowed to go home, although you will not be allowed to drive a vehicle or use heavy machinery.
How does it work?
This eye surgery is normally carried out on those who are suffering with nearsightedness.
What happens to those who are near sighted is that the light rays hit in front of the retina (thin layer of neural cells at the back of the eye) causing blurred vision, with the intracorneal rings added from surgery the cornea is flattened which changes the way light passes through the cornea on its way into the back of the eye.
Because the light refraction has changed due to the intracorneal rings, the light now hits the retina rather than landing in front of it, which improves the vision dramatically.
This surgery is normally chosen because it can be reversed at any time, unlike most surgeries.
Like any surgery to the eye, in extreme circumstances a patient may receive double vision, a glare from lights, reuced night vision or an increase in astigmatism. This is not really something you need to worry about as this surgery is very safe and the risks only affect a very minor percentage.
Post surgery awareness
This surgery is only carried out on one eye at a time so the doctor may put a patch over the eye that has been worked on.
Patients are normally given antibiotics to stop infection while the eye heals, it is important that the patient takes the full course of antibiotics as prescribed.
Besides the risk of infection the patient may suffer with swelling, pain, redness and irritation, it is important that the eye in not rubbed during this time.
Some doctors use stitches that dissolve over time while others may require the patient to visit the surgery for the stitches to be removed, either way a visit to the surgery so the doctor can examine the eye is essential.
Benefits of intracorneal eye surgery
While this surgery does give a high percentage of visual improvement it does not guarantee that you will never need the aid of spectacles, although there is every possibility that spectacles will never be needed again.
Studies have shown that a very high, ninety seven percent of patients have had a post operative unaided (without spectacles) of 20/40.
Should your vision change at any point the doctor can replace your intracorneal rings with ones of a different size to suit the change, or even remove them altogether as the surgery is reversible.