Approximately 20-30% of the world’s population has myopia, meaning near-sightedness or blurry distance vision, and that percentage will increase over the next few decades. For clear vision, light entering the eye has to be accurately focused on a tissue inside the eye known as the retina. In the near-sighted eye, the light misses this mark, or refractive error, resulting in blurry vision. The further the light is from the retina, the higher one’s prescription. Glasses or contact lenses are necessary for focusing the light accurately onto the retina, and being dependent on one of these options for clear vision can be burdensome, especially for those with high prescriptions. 

Doctors have been performing LASIK (refractive eye surgery) for several decades to provide patients with freedom from contact lenses and glasses. LASIK has a high success rate and is a well-established part of the surgical eye care world; however, it has limitations. LASIK involves altering the thickness of a patient’s cornea to focus light onto the retina correctly. The higher the prescription, the more tissue that needs altering. 

Since there is a limit to how much tissue can be altered, eligibility for LASIK is restricted to those within a specific prescription range. Additionally, LASIK is permanent. Altering the patient’s corneal tissue is irreversible and almost always results in some level of dry eye post-operatively. Other side effects such as night vision halos and blur can also occur. Unsurprisingly, in recent years, many doctors have become very excited about the latest refractive surgery technology — an implantable contact lens. 

Evolution Implantable Collamer Lens, STAAR Surgical (EVO ICL) was approved by the FDA in the United States in 2022. Unlike LASIK, it is not dependent on the patient’s corneal anatomy. Therefore, it can correct refractive errors beyond traditional LASIK, including moderate astigmatism. The contact lens is implanted inside the patient’s eye without altering the natural anatomy, reducing the post-operative challenges common with LASIK. EVO ICL also minimally impacts possible future procedures such as cataract surgery. The EVO ICL is also reversible, adding to its superiority over LASIK. 

Ramon Gomez, Premium Services Manager at Eye Specialty Group, works closely with patients who have undergone EVO ICL and attests that they are “some of the happiest patients.” He emphasizes that it is particularly beneficial for those in “contact” environments, such as the military, first responders, and athletes, since it avoids compromising the strength of the cornea, which can prove detrimental in events involving head or face trauma. 

Dr. Andrew Crothers is an ophthalmologist at Eye Specialty Group who performs the procedure locally. He says, “My patients who have had the EVO ICL have been having even better results than I expected. So much so that I’m recommending it not just for patients who are not good candidates for LASIK but even for some patients who could have LASIK. EVO ICL may have advantages, like better contrast sensitivity, improved night vision, and reversibility that can make it the preferred choice over LASIK in some individuals.” 

For more information, visit: STAAR Surgical 

Eye Speciality Group (Ramon Gomez) 901.820.2329 | 

By Amanda Tompkins