What is ICL?
ICL stands for Implantable Collamer Lens. Similar to a contact lens that is worn daily on the surface of the eye, i.e. an artificial lens that is implanted permanently in between the iris and the natural lens of the eye. This is a specially designed material that can be injected into the eye and rests on the individual’s normal crystalline lens. It is a surgery that treats poor eyesight due to refractive errors in the eye, it requires a short surgical procedure, to enter the eye and carefully place it inside.
Who requires ICL?
Not every individual can undergo a LASIK, for these people, ICL is a promising and permanent option. These usually are the people with very high spectacle powers or those with thinner corneas who are not fit for ablative laser procedures. The ICL is also highly recommended for keratoconus eyes, once deemed stable, and Patients who have myopia (nearsightedness) or astigmatism (blurred vision due to the irregular shape of the cornea) are ideal candidates for the ICL procedure. Patients who may not be ideal candidates for LASIK or PRK procedures can also undergo the ICL procedure. However, this too has certain prerequisites for adequate depth in the anterior chamber to fit the lens inside. Speak to your Doctor regarding the pros and cons.
Dr. Kareeshma Wadia routinely performs all these procedures. Speak to her for more details on what is the best option for you.
Benefits of choosing ICL for vision correction
- ICL does have increased benefits especially when it comes to severe myopia (nearsightedness).
- It can drastically reduce one’s dependency on glasses or contact lenses.
- Night vision issues such as glare and haloes which are common in LASIK are infrequent in ICL
- Since these are removable, the procedure can be reversible should that ever be needed.
Understanding Vision Correction Options
- For most people, their dependency on glasses reduces drastically after the ICL surgery.
- After the ICL procedure, people can wear glasses for any minimal residual refractive error, if at all -only if needed.
- Also, ICL cannot prevent presbyopia, which is difficulty with reading in people 40 and older. So, the patient may need reading glasses for near work after crossing the age of 40. These are the natural changes in the aging eye. ICL will continue to give a good vision for distance in such people.
1. Contact Lenses
- Most people do not need glasses/ contact lenses post-ICL surgery.
- They can however use contact lenses only if they are not satisfied with their vision quality post the procedure.
- Colored contact lenses for aesthetic purposes can also be worn by patients if they wish to and if they do not experience dry eye post-ICL surgery.
2. How ICL works to correct vision
- People who cannot get LASIK are good candidates for the ICL procedure.
- It can fix severe myopia (nearsightedness) which sometimes cannot be corrected by other surgeries like LASIK or SMILE.
- People who have chronically dry eyes, tend to get some relief as this lens is less likely to cause dry eye as opposed to LASIK.
- Recovery is usually quick as there is no tissue removal during this procedure.
3. Recovery and Post-Operative Care
- The doctor will prescribe eye drops for post-operative care in order to prevent any infection or reaction.
- You will need someone to accompany you as well as take you home post-surgery.
- The doctor’s visit will happen the very next day, where the doctor will check your eye thoroughly.
- One’s eyesight may start to improve over the next 24 hours after the procedure.
- It may also take 2 to 3 days for the person to gain their eyesight back to optimal capacity.
ICL surgery will reduce your dependency on glasses and contact lenses. It is a better prospect for people who cannot get LASIK or PRK. This procedure is highly encouraged for people who aren’t ideal candidates for LASIK or PRK. It is also advisable for people with very high numbers, who want to improve their vision quality and reduce their dependency on glasses and contact lenses.
Implantable Collamer Lens FAQs
A person having
- high myopia (nearsightedness)
- astigmatism ( blurred vision due to the cylindrical shape of the cornea) can be an
- thin cornea
Basically, anyone unfit for LASIK is an ideal candidate for ICL.
The ICL procedure usually takes 30 minutes or less.
The ICL implantation procedure is relatively pain free. At the time of the surgery, the patient is given a mild topical or local anesthetic. After the effect of anesthesia wears off, the patient may experience mild heaviness, blurred vision, or watering for a few hours post procedure.
One can recover almost completely and return to most regular activities by the next day. But, it can take a week to 10 days for complete visual improvement, which also depends on each individual’s healing process.
Yes, ICL can be used to correct astigmatism. However, it cannot eliminate but only reduce your dependency on glasses or contact lenses.
A person may be considered to be an ideal candidate if they are between the age group of 21 to 45 years old.
The ICL implants are known to last for a lifetime. However, when the patient develops a cataract as per ageing eye, it can be removed and continue with routine cataract surgery.