(3TV/CBS 5) − If you have vision trouble, specifically astigmatism, you may soon be saying goodbye to your contacts or glasses.
There's a new device that's being called a life-changer for people like you.
It's an implantable contact lens or ICL and it's designed for astigmatisms that can't be corrected through Lasik.
Nick Weitekamp just had the ICL placed in both eyes.
"Without glasses or contacts on, I literally couldn't see anything. It was just blobs," he said.
An active runner and busy dad, he said dealing with that was getting old.
"About six years ago I decided I'm done with the glasses and contacts. There's gotta be something with today's technology that's going to be able to fix my eyes," he said.
He was right. The Toric ICL was available in Canada, but hadn't been approved here in the U.S.
As soon as that changed, he was on the list to have them implanted.
"It's a new procedure in the states and people say 'you don't want to be that guy.' Well, they've been doing this procedure, it's just a new lens so that's kind of what I would tell myself to help me sleep at night. I mean, it's your eyes," he explained.
As Dr. Jay Schwartz explains, Weitekamp was like a lot of patients not eligible for Lasik because his astigmatism was so severe.
"He had 10 diopters of nearsightedness. Patients out there who look at their nearsightedness they say 'I'm minus two, I'm minus three, I'm minus four.' He was a minus 10. Off the chart. Lasik was not an option,' Schwartz said.
Implanting the Toric ICL takes just a few minutes and the results are immediate.
"A tiny incision is made in the side of the eye. It's about 3 millimeteres, the eye is filled with a gel, the lens is inserted into the eye and placed in the proper position. The gel is rinsed out of the eye, the incision is self-sealing by the way it's created. That's it," he explained.
Weitekamp said, when the procedure was done, he could hardly believe his eyes.
"I opened my eye after that first procedure and I had a contact in this eye and I had just had surgery done and I could read the sign across the room. And I started to laugh and I said, 'That sign says exit' and it was just really cool to be able to see."
It's important to note, this isn't covered by insurance and costs around $4,000 per eye.
It's best for people between 20 and 50 years old.
And while most of his patients are 20/20 after the surgery, some aren't but they will see a huge improvement.
Dr. Schwartz is the first doctor in the Southwest not involved in the product trial to implant the Toric ICL.
For more information, visit schwartzlaser.com.