Intacs is a non-laser procedure with FDA approval for patients with low levels of myopia, or nearsightedness, without significant astigmatism. The procedure involves placement of two tiny plastic cylinders within the periphery of the cornea. These maintenance-free ring segments, which can be removed or exchanged, maintain a more natural corneal shape that helps to restore vision. Intacs reshape the cornea surface without surgery and improves vision while reducing the distortion caused by keratoconus.
Intacs have also been FDA approved for the treatment of keratoconus, which is an inherited disorder where progressive thinning occurs in the central or lower portion of the cornea. With this thinning, the eye becomes more nearsighted and develops higher amounts of astigmatism. In mild cases of keratoconus, glasses or soft contact lenses can help. In more severe cases gas permeable lenses are an option. Unfortunately, there are no medications that will prevent progression of this disease.
Eventually, some patients have thinning to to the point that they are unable to be fit with contact lenses. Until recently, a person’s only other option was corneal transplantation. Approximately 10% of keratoconus patients go on to need cornea transplantation,also known as penetrating keratoplasty.
For many people, Intacs has served as an intermediate step between contact lenses and corneal transplantation.
The purpose of Intacs is to reduce corneal steepening to the point so an individual with keratoconus or Post-LASIK keratectasia (corneal thinning), is able to return to wearing contact lenses or glasses with good vision results.
The corneal implants are designed for long-term vision correction. Intacs are an additive technology – which means the Intac rings work with glasses or contact lenses to provide you with your best corrected vision.Because Intacs are an additive technology, patients who are not satisfied with the visual results or who are troubled by visual symptoms (about 4%) can have a surgeon remove them.
Intacs can be replaced with different-size implants or removed for good. You have the option of replacing them with new rings at a later date if your prescription changes over time.
If Intacs are removed permanently. vision tends to return to the way it was before surgery within three months. Those receiving replacement Intacs have obtained good visual results as well. These subsequent activities have been free of serious incident.
The Intacs procedure is currently available for people with mild myopia (nearsightedness). Due to the accuracy of laser technology, now Intacs are mostly being used in patients with keratoconus or post-LASIK keratectasia as described above. The best way to find out if you are a candidate for the procedure is to schedule an appointment to have your vision evaluated.
You may be a candidate for Intacs, if you meet the following criteria:
- Contact lens intolerance in those with keratoconus
- Contact lens intolerance in those with a history of Post-LASIK keratectasia (corneal thinning)
- Adequate corneal thickness
For more information on Intacs procedures in the St. Louis area through Washington University Physicians or to make an appointment, please call 314-996-3300.