You have high myopia (short-sightedness), and you finally decided to schedule an appointment to learn more about LASIK. Unfortunately, you are not a good candidate. Is there another option? Is it safe? Implantable contacts might be your solution. You might not find this term familiar, as most people learn more about it when LASIK is not an option. If you are considering vision correction surgery, then ICL might be an for you.

What are implantable contacts?

Implantable contacts, also known as Visian Implantable Collamer lens (ICL) are made up of Collamer, a substance naturally found in the body, making it biocompatible with the eye. It is placed behind a part of the eye called the iris but in front of the natural crystalline lens present in our eyes. This makes it different from the Intraocular lens (IOL) used for treating cataracts which replace the natural crystalline lens.

ICL is foldable, therefore requiring only a small incision for its insertion, without the need for any sutures. Moreover, the procedure is reversible, and if the patient is unsatisfied, the lenses can be removed.

ICL has the broadest range of power correction from – 3.00 to -20.00 Diopters. It has been approved in the USA, and since 2005, more than 500,000 surgeries have successfully been performed.

Are you a good candidate for ICL?

You will be considered a good candidate if you:

– Are 21-45 years old

– Have high degree myopia

– Have little or no astigmatism

– Are not a suitable candidate for LASIK due to high prescriptions, dry eye or thin corneal thickness

– Have stable refractions with a change of fewer than 0.50 diopters in the past two years

– Have a sufficiently sizeable anterior chamber depth

– Have acceptable endothelial cell density


What are the advantages of ICL over other refractive surgeries?

The process of implantation is reversible, and since the natural crystalline lens is not removed, there are no permanent changes to the eye. Other benefits include the following:

– It is biocompatible with the eye

– It has a rapid recovery

– It reduces the chances of relapse for high myopia

– It has a full correction range for myopia

– It has no risk of changing the shape of your cornea or flap-related complications


What are the potential risks with ICL?

Although there are minor risks associated with the implantable contact lens, it is incredibly safe. There is a small chance you may experience the following side effects:

– A Headache, light sensitivity, and slight discomfort

– Infection

– Increased intraocular pressure (after an ICL procedure the pressure inside your eyes may rise)

– If the surgeon touches your natural lens during the surgery, you may develop cataracts.

– Rarely, retinal detachment, swelling of retina and halos around the light.


How is an ICL implantation performed?

Few weeks before the actual surgery, your surgeon will perform an iridotomy by using a laser to create two small openings at the edge of the iris. This will allow the aqueous humor to flow to the front of the eye from the part behind the iris, thereby avoiding the rise of intraocular pressure after surgery.

In the primary surgery, a small incision is made which will allow the foldable implantable contacts to be placed behind the iris and in front of the natural lens of the eye. The process will be done under mild local anesthesia. It is performed on an outpatient basis and will take 10-15 minutes for each eye. Even so, you will have to arrange for someone to drive you to and from the clinic.


Requirements After an ICL Implantation

Post surgery, your surgeon will ask for a follow-up within 24 hours to check for signs of increased intraocular pressure. Your surgeon may insist on follow-ups between 1 month and 6 months.

You may not need any special maintenance after an implantable contacts procedure, but annual visits to your ophthalmologist are encouraged.

Check out with your ophthalmologist to see if you’re a good candidate for this affordable vision correction procedure. We know that the success of any surgery highly depends on the expertise of the surgeon. Your eyes are of great value, therefore, be sure to get the surgery done by a reputed and reliable eye surgeon.