The Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL) is a thin clear lens surgically implanted into the eye as a long-term solution for short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism.
What is an Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL)?
The Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL) is an advanced, thin, clear lens that functions similarly to a contact lens, however it is surgically implanted into the eye. The ICL cannot be felt while in the eye, requires no maintenance and can be removed if needed. The ICL does not replace your natural lens, but is implanted in front of your natural lens and behind your iris (the coloured part of the eye).
The ICL procedure is a low risk, long-term solution and, as such, is a good option for many patients, especially those under the age of 40. The procedure is often recommended for patients with high prescriptions for either short-sightedness (myopia) or long-sightedness (hyperopia), because often the cornea is not thick enough to be treated safely with laser eye surgery procedures such as LASIK or ASLA.
The procedure is a permanent one – or until you decide that you may want to remove it. The ICL has the advantage of being reversible.
The ICL is specifically manufactured to correct your prescription and its strength is determined after a thorough series of measurements at our clinic.
What are the benefits of ICL?
The key benefits of ICL include:
- It is a low-risk and permanent solution
- The lens cannot be felt while in the eye
- No maintenance is required
- The lens can be removed if required – reversible procedure
What is the ICL made of?
The Visian ICL is made from a material called Collamer, a collagen co-polymer that contains a small amount of purified collagen. It is stable and biocompatible and has been used for many years in the lenses implanted during cataract surgery. and ICL. The lens also contains an ultraviolet (UV) filter.
How do I prepare for ICL surgery?
There are a few things to remember prior to your surgery:
- Do not wear soft contact lenses for 7 days prior to your surgery (or as advised)
- Do not wear any make up or fragrances on the day or surgery
- Take any prescribed medications as usual unless advised by Dr Wolfe
- You will need to fast at least 5 hours prior to your procedure. However, if you have other conditions such as diabetes, Dr Wolfe will discuss your specific fasting requirements with you
How does ICL surgery work?
Your ICL procedure will performed at a Day Procedure Centre. After you have been admitted, you will meet with your anaesthetist who will discuss aspects of your general health and the procedure with you.
You will be given sedation to make you relaxed during the procedure and the anaesthetist will ensure you are comfortable throughout.
Anaesthetic eye drops are used to numb the eye and Dr Wolfe will place a small instrument between your eyelids to prevent blinking. You may notice some bright lights from the microscope but you will not see the procedure as it happens.
The customised lens is folded into a special injector and Dr Wolfe will make a small opening through which he will insert the ICL. Once inside the eye, the ICL will unfold and be positioned. The opening then seals on its own; usually without the need for stitches.
You only spend 20 to 30 minutes in the theatre but will be at the Day Procedure Centre for 2-3 hours. You will need to have someone collect you and stay with you at home afterwards while you recover.
Usually the eyes are treated a minimum of one week apart.
What to expect after ICL surgery?
You will need to arrange for someone to take you home and to stay with you at home after the procedure. You should plan to avoid strenuous activity for 48 hours.
Until all the drops wear off, your vision may be blurry, however, most patients see well the next day. You vision will likely fluctuate as the eyes heal then settle over the first few weeks following ICL surgery. There may be some mild discomfort or a gritty sensation for a few days after the procedure.
After ICL surgery, Dr Wolfe will prescribe antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops to take for a few weeks. The majority of patients can resume normal activities within a week of their ICL surgery, however, we ask that you do not drive until you have been advised that it is safe to do so.
Dr Wolfe will see you back at VISTAeyes for reviews over several months following your procedure as necessary.
Am I a suitable candidate for ICL?
ICL surgery may be suitable for patients who:
- Currently wear uncomfortable or heavy glasses
- Struggle with wearing contact lenses
- Are unsuitable for laser eye surgery such as LASIK or ASLA
The ICL procedure is used to treat short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism. If you are over the age of 18 years, have stable vision and healthy eyes then ICL surgery could be the right solution for you.
The ideal ICL candidate has not had any ophthalmic surgery and does not have a history of eye disease such as iritis, glaucoma, or diabetic retinopathy.
What are the risks with ICL surgery?
The risks are rare and often only minor if they occur. ICL surgery is a safe procedure, but like all surgical or medical procedures there is always a risk of complication. All known complications will be discussed at your consultation.