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What is ICL Vision Surgery & How is it Performed?| Benefits & Risks of ICL Vision Surgery

What is ICL Vision Surgery?

ICL (implantable Collamer lens) surgery is a surgical procedure that is performed to permanently implant an artificial lens in the eye.

What is ICL Vision Surgery?

ICL (implantable Collamer lens) is used in the treatment of:

The surgery places the lens in between the eye’s natural lens and iris. The lens of implantable Collamer lens is made of plastic and collagen known as Collamer, a type of phakic intraocular lens. This surgery eliminates or reduces the need for glasses or contact lenses. ICL can be a good alternative to laser for young myopes(1)

It can also be an alternative procedure for those who cannot go ahead with laser eye surgery.

How is the ICL Vision Surgery Performed?

How is the ICL Vision Surgery Performed?

One week before the ICL vision surgery the ophthalmologist makes tine holes between the front of the eye and natural lens. This is done to prevent fluid build-up in the eye after the procedure.

Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops are started several days before the surgery.

The ICL vision surgery procedure is performed by an eye surgeon.

During the ICL vision surgical procedure, the person is made to lie on the back. A mild anesthesia is given to numb the eye. Some are also given a mild sedative to help relax during the procedure.

The area around the eye is cleaned and the eyelid is held open with a tool called a lid speculum. A small incision is made in the eye. A lubricant is put to protect the cornea.
ICL is inserted through the incision. The surgeon then removes the lubricant. Small stitches are done to close the incision. Eye drops are put in the eye and eye patch is placed to cover it.

The ICL vision surgery procedure takes around 20-30 minutes. The individual is monitored for a few hours.

The person can go home the same day. There is a follow-up appointment the next day in which the surgeon checks the progress.

How is ICL Surgery Beneficial?

Along with an improved vision, there are numerous benefits of ICL surgery:

  • It can be a solution for severe nearsightedness
  • It less likely causes dry eyes and can help those with chronically dry eyes
  • There is a quick recovery
  • Improves night vision
  • It is a permanent solution but the lens can be removed
  • It is a solution for those who cannot go ahead with laser eye surgery

ICL surgery improves vision and quality of life and has a high degree of patient satisfaction associated(2)

Risks Associated With ICL Surgery

Though safe, ICL surgery can put a person at risk of certain conditions, such as:

  • Glaucoma: An oversized ICL can put pressure in the eye, leading to glaucoma.
  • Cataract: ICL can also lead to a decrease in the circulation of fluid in the eye, increasing the risk of cataract.
  • Blurry Vision: It can be a symptom of above two complication
  • Retinal Detachment: ICL surgery can also increase the risk of detachment of the retina from its usual position. It is a rare complication but would require immediate medical attention.
  • Eye Infection: It is an uncommon complication, but can lead to permanent vision loss.
  • Vision Loss: Increase in the pressure in the eye for long can lead to vision loss

Who Cannot Go Ahead With ICL?

ICL surgery may not be a safety consideration for everyone. Surgery would not be a good choice for:

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding females
  • Those younger than 21 years or older than 45 years
  • Those with chronic disease
  • Those taking medications associated with vision changes
  • Those taking medicines associated with vision changes
  • Those who do not meet the minimum requirement for endothelial count

Also, those wearing contact lenses need to stop wearing them a few weeks before the procedure.

ICL can reduce dependence on glasses. It is a quick procedure with a fast recovery. Consult a doctor to known whether this procedure is safe for you.

Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 21, 2022

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