November 25, 2010
1 min read

ICL safe, effective, US Army study finds

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CHICAGO — An Implantable Collamer Lens is gaining favor among U.S. Army personnel, with good results in postoperative vision and a trauma case, a surgeon said here.

"There have been no problems with [the implantable collamer lens]," Scott D. Barnes, MD, said at the Refractive Subspecialty Day preceding the joint meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the Middle East Africa Council of Ophthalmology. "They are pretty comfortable ... for active people. Soldiers love it."

In a study of 500 patients who received the STAAR Visian ICL at Fort Bragg U.S. Army base, 98% of patients reported that they had better vision postoperatively than preoperatively with glasses; 75% of patients said they had better postop vision than preop with contact lenses.

More than 750 ICLs have been implanted at Fort Bragg since 2007, Dr. Barnes said.

In one case study, a soldier who had received an ICL and survived a grenade blast had retinal and vitreous hemorrhage, but no movement of the implant or development of cataract. The retinal and vitreal trauma was treated successfully.


First, it is important to remember that phakic IOLs, regardless of design or type, are not permitted in anyone who wants to join the military. The Navy, Army, Marine Corps and Air Force do not allow people into the military who have already undergone the procedure. The Navy and Army have been implanting phakic IOLs in their personnel for some time and have had a very positive experience with the technology with very few complications. However, the Air Force has not begun using phakic IOLs in any of our men and women in uniform, and we are waiting for additional long-term safety data regarding endothelial cell loss before we will begin using the lenses in our personnel.

Overall, the experiences the Navy and Army are gaining with their personnel are adding greatly to our overall understanding of the benefits and limitations of this exciting refractive technology.

– Charles “Chaz” Reilly, MD, Lt. Col, USAF, MC, FS
Lackland Air Force Base, Texas

  • The opinions expressed in this comment do not necessarily represent those of the Department of Defense, the Air Force or the 59th Medical Wing, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.