When most people consider the possibility of life without contact lenses or glasses, they’re usually thinking of LASIK or another type of laser eye surgery. Unfortunately, not everyone is a good candidate for LASIK. If you are less than 40 years of age and have a very high prescription, then the use of an additional lens can be a very good alternative to laser eye surgery.
The Implantable Contact Lens (ICL) has been available for over 20 years and, to date, over 650,000 Collamer lenses have been implanted worldwide. Custom made for each individual, the lens is a micro-thin implant that is able to correct very high prescriptions, ranging from +8.00D longsightedness to -20.00D short-sightedness, whilst also correcting up to 6.00D of astigmatism.
Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL)
Made from a technologically advanced collagen based Collamer material, the lens is designed to be inert and 100% compatible with the natural environment of the eye. Other advantages of the material include UV-A and UV-B protection, anti-reflectivity and exceptional optical clarity.
The ICL is implanted through a small 2.2mm entry and is gently positioned behind the iris and infant of the natural lens. Once implanted, the lens is invisible to the naked eye and cannot be flat within the eye. The procedure takes less than 15 minutes to perform and is often performed under local anaesthetic, meaning patients are able to walk out of the surgical theatre once finished. For patients who are anxious, general anaesthesia or sedation can be administered.
The ICL is a reversible procedure meaning that in the future, the lens can be removed should the need arise for any reason.
- Does not induce dry eye syndrome,
- Sharp, Clear Vision,,;
- Excellent Night Vision;
- Great for those with thin corneas,
- UV protection built into the biocompatible lenses;
- A typically quick, 10-15 minute or less procedure and most people are able to resume daily activities in just a few short days with clearer vision
- Treats myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism.
- Successful for patients with complex conditions including keratoconus.
Removability for your peace of mind.
The advantage of the Visian ICL is that it can permanently correct your vision, yet no natural tissue is removed in any way during the procedure. If for the unlikely reason you need or wish to remove your Visian ICLs in the future, your doctor can accommodate you.
Vision correction with a legacy of success.
Visian ICL has been approved in Europe since 1997 and in the U.S. since 2005. In that time, over 650,000 eyes have been implanted with Visian ICLs by certified, specialized surgeons with a study showing a 99% patient satisfaction rate.
In harmony with your natural eye.
For people who value health and wellness the Visian ICL could be the choice for you. The Collamer base of the lens material is biocompatible, meaning it is designed to function in harmony with your natural eye.
- By not removing and reshaping corneal tissue, the Visian ICL procedure does not induce dry eye syndrome. Naves, J.S. Carracedo, G. Cacho-Babillo, I. Diadenosine Nucleotid Measurements as Dry-Eye Score in Patients After LASIK and ICL Surgery. Presented at American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) 2012.
- Sanders D. Vukich JA. Comparison of implantable collamer lens (ICL) and laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) for Low Myopia. Cornea. 2006 Dec; 25(10):1139-46.
- Shin, JY. Ahn, H. Seo, KY. Kim, EK. Kim, TK. Comparison of higher order aberrations after implantable collamer lens implantation and wavefront-guided lasek in high myopia. J Refract Surg. 2012; 28(2): 106-111.
- Igarashi, A. Kamiya, K. Shimizu, K. Komatsu, M. Visual Performance after implantable collamer lens implantation and wavefront-guided laser in situ keratomileusis for high myopia. Am J Opthalmol. 2009.
- Parkhurst, G. Prospective Comparative Trial of LASIK vs. ICL for Night Vision Performance. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the AAO, Chicago, 2010.
- Parkhurst, G. Psolka, M. Kezirian, G. Phakic intraocular lens implantantion in United States military warfighters: A retrospective analysis of early clinical outcomes of the Visian ICL. J Refract Surg. 2011;27(7):473-481.
- Gimbel, Howard V et al. Management of myopic astigmatism with phakic intraocular lens implantation. Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery , Volume 28 , Issue 5 , 883 – 886.
- UV-absorbing collamer implantable contact lens (ICL) for the correction of myopia. PMA# P030016. Presentation to the Ophthalmic Devices Advisory Panel. October 2003.
More Information about Implantable Contact Lens
For more information regarding this treatment as well as any frequently asked questions, please see below.
Upon arrival in the hospital, and approximately 45 minutes before your surgery, a small pellet will be inserted into the lower lid, causing gentle dilatation of the pupil. Following administration of anaesthetic eye drops, the area around your eye will be cleaned and a drape applied to ensure a sterile environment.
The lens is gently inserted through a 2.2mm incision in the cornea, and the lens is positioned behind the iris and floated on the natural lens. As the procedure does not require any stitches, recovery is often very quick.
The operation usually is usually performed under a topical anaesthetic (eye drops), is painless and lasts between 10-20 minutes in most cases. Should you feel anxious, then sedation or general anaesthesia are available if required.
After the operation you will rest for a while, have refreshment and then go home. You will be given a dressing pack to swab the eye clean the following day, and some antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops to apply at home after the surgery.
You will need to allow between 1-4 hours after your surgery (dependent on the anaesthesia) so that we can run through your treatment and aftercare with you. You will need someone to collect you or we can arrange transport for you.
Whilst the risks of ICL surgery are low, no procedure is risk free. As safety is paramount, we only operate on one eye at a time. We often perform the procedure for the second eye 1-2 weeks later.
As there is likely to be a large prescription difference between the operated eye and non operated eye between procedures, we recommend wearing a contact lens to correct the non operated eye between operations.
As the pupil may take 1-2 days to return to normal size, the vision may be slightly blurred for a couple of days. The visual recovery from ICL surgery is very quick however and patients are often amazed at how quick and pain free the recovery period is.
As with all forms of eye surgery, ICL surgery has risks and whilst we make every effort to minimise them, they cannot be totally eliminated.
Although uncommon, risks include:
- Raised pressure: The risk of acutely raised eye pressure following surgery has fallen to less than 1% since the introduction of Centraflow™ technology. Surgery can however, temporarily increase eye pressure requiring further treatment and the pressure of your eye will be carefully monitored post-operatively and treated if required.
- Infection: Whenever an incision is made in the eye it is possible to contract an infection that could potentially cause permanent visual loss. Due to the quality of a hospital theatre environments in the UK, this is extremely rare with a reported incidence of less than 1:5000 cases.
- Lens exchange: Although several measurements are made of the eye pre-operatively to calculate the correct size of the ICL, the dimensions of the space in which the ICL is placed cannot be visualized directly. This means that occasionally the ICL will need to be replaced with a slightly larger or smaller lens. This is estimated to be required in around 5% of all cases. The ICL is removed and replaced through the same tiny entry port as the original procedure.
- Cataract: The ICL is designed to sit above the natural crystalline lens, which remains transparent until the natural onset of cataract in later life. Insertion of an ICL may accelerate the process of cataract development. In patients under the age of 45 years this is extremely uncommon, but overall the risk of cataract formation in ICL surgery is estimated at 2%.
- Retinal Detachment (RD): Surgery in severely short-sighted eyes carries a risk of retinal detachment. Given that ICL surgery is less invasive than routine cataract surgery, several studies have demonstrated that the risk of RD is no higher than of surgery was not performed. Although RD is a potentially sight-threatening condition and an ophthalmic emergency, approximately 90% of RDs can be repaired surgically if treated in time.
About 10% of patients will experience some unwanted visual effects such as glare, starbursts and halo that may become apparent after any intraocular lens surgery or laser vision correction procedure. All patients will experience these effects immediately after ICL surgery whilst healing but they may rarely persist so special consideration needs to be taken e.g. for professional drivers who drive at night. These symptoms rarely require removal of the ICL.
LaserVision was initially founded in Guildford, Surrey. Now with clinics in over 6 locations, we are able to treat the eye conditions of patients nationwide. This technology is available at: