ICL FAQ

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Learn more about the Implantable Contact Lens (ICL) - THE ULTIMATE CHOICE IN VISION CORRECTION.

 

What is an Implantable Contact Lens (ICL)?

The Implantable Contact Lens (ICL) is indicated for patients unsuitable for LASIK with extremes of myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness) and/or astigmatism (cylindrical powers).

 

They are designed to correct visual problems much the same way as an external contact lens. Unlike external contact lens, Implantable Contact Lenses are placed inside the eye behind the iris (colored part of the eye) and in front of the eye's natural lens. Unlike LASIK, the ICL is a reversible procedure.


It is an artificial lens made from material similar to the type used for intraocular lenses currently being implanted in cataract surgery that is placed inside your eye in addition to your natural lens.

 

How does the ICL work?

The Implantable Contact Lens is a very thin, foldable lens, which is inserted into the eye through a tiny sutureless corneal incision during a 30-minute local anesthetic procedure. Each ICL is specially designed and custom-made to fit the patient's own unique anatomy. It lies behind the iris and in front of the lens, without touching the central lens. The ICL is reversible and can correct near-sightedness, far-sightedness and astigmatism.

 

Who should consider the ICL / Am I suitable for the ICL?

Because each person's eyes are different, your surgeon must choose the best treatment for your specific disorder. The Implantable Contact Lens (ICLTM) is capable of correcting most refractive disorders as well as those where conventional laser treatment (LASIK, PRK, etc.) may not be advisable. Implantable Contact Lenses are best suited for patients with high nearsightedness or high farsightedness with problems wearing contact lenses. More specific guidelines of ICL eligibility could include:

  • Extreme nearsightedness (especially if thin corneas would raise the risk of LASIK-induced problems)
  • Extreme farsightedness
  • Corneas too thin to have safe LASIK or even Epi-LASIK
  • Older than 21 years with a stable refraction for 2 years or more and not pregnant
  • Dry eyes or large pupil

 

The Consultation

ICL work-up and treatment at Shreya Eye Centre is performed by our experienced staff and surgeons. An initial consultation will confirm suitability. Each patient then goes through a comprehensive series of eye tests and examinations (including manifest, cycloplegic and post-mydriatic refraction, corneal topography, pachymetry, and thorough retina check-up) before consulting with the surgeon to discuss and plan the specifics of personal vision correction. If one decides to go ahead with the treatment, the lenses will be made to the exact specifications and will be ready in two weeks. If you wear contact lenses, you will be required to stay off them prior to your check-up (Soft lenses for 2 weeks and rigid lenses for 4 weeks).

 

The ICL Procedure

As part of the pre-operative work-up your surgeon will perform YAG Laser Iridotomy before the actual procedure, which consists of making two holes in your colored portion of the eye (Iris) to help ensure that intraocular fluid does not build up behind the ICL Prior to the ICL procedure you will be started on pre-operative medication including antibiotic drops, as per the surgeon's requirements. The ICL implantation procedure is performed in a specialist ophthalmic theatre. Local anesthetics will be used to numb the eye.

 

The lens is inserted through a small incision in the side of the cornea and sits in front of the eye's natural lens, just behind the cornea. Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops are then administered to avoid infection and the whole procedure takes around 30 minutes. As a precautionary measure, the lenses are implanted one at a time, allowing a minimum recovery time of one week between treatments. Once the first has fully settled, the second eye receives its ICL.

 

After Treatment

You will be able to go home on the same day and it is essential that you have someone to accompany you. You are free to leave the clinic as soon as you feel able, with padding over the eye to prevent infection. Although you may see some improvement in your vision as early as the first postoperative day but visual recovery may take several weeks to stabilize. You will be able to return to normal activities within 2-3 days following surgery and should be able to drive and be back to work within two weeks of the procedure. You will need to be seen again by your surgeon on the day after surgery. Aftercare visits are required after one and three months, then as directed by the surgeon.

 

Limitations of ICL / Phakic Implant Surgery

Results of surgery cannot be guaranteed and sometimes glasses may be required for sharpest vision, for night driving or other activities performed in low light, and for prolonged reading etc. Implantable Contact Lenses are designed to provide as close to normal vision as possible. People with normal distance vision benefit from wearing reading glasses for near work at some stage in their 40s. ICL patients experience this aging change just the same as normal people.

 

What problems have been encountered with ICLs?

There is a small but unavoidable risk of infection but this is minimized by the full sterile theatre conditions. There is also a small possibility of damage to the structure of the eye, which could lead to cataracts, glaucoma, retinal complications, corneal decomposition and rejection.

 

Severely short-sighted people often have other eye problems such as damaged retinas and progressively deteriorating eyesight. The ICL cannot help or stop these associated conditions. In the event of complications, lens implants are potentially reversible.

 

No procedure can be risk-free. Ultimately, the patient needs to make up their mind about the risk/benefit balance for the various options available to them to correct their high myopia or high hyperopia. Some patients need surgical correction of their severe focus error for safety reasons. Theoretically, the proximity of the ICL to the iris and lens raises the possibility of late onset lens opacities or pigment dispersion. Both these rare but potential problems (occurred in 0.4% patients in the FDA Study Group) are much more easily fixed than corneal complications following LASIK surgery. Current evidence supports ICLs as being a very effective and safe option for these patients.


The Implantable Contact Lens is designed to be placed in your eye and remain there permanently, but with increasing age if you develop a cataract significant enough to cause visual problems, then cataract removal with intraocular lens implantation can be done with removal of the ICL.

 

The Advantages of ICL Implantation

  • The ICL is tiny and soft - The ICL can be folded so small that it can be injected painlessly into your eye in seconds through a tiny opening in your cornea so that it unfolds into position in the liquid between your iris and your natural lens and is easily accepted by your body
  • The ICL is invisible - The ICL is placed inside your eye, rather than on the surface. The lens is invisible. The only way that you or anyone else will know that it is there, is the improvement in your eyesight.
  • ICL is removable - The lens is meant to remain permanently in the eye. However, it can be removed if necessary, since the lens does not alter any structures within the eye or the cornea.
  • The ICL works beyond the limits of laser treatment - The ICL is useful in cases beyond the limits of laser treatment (high minus and plus spectacle powers) and is the treatment of choice if you have thin corneas, dry eyes, or large pupils
  • The Toric ICL treats two vision disorders in one procedure - The Toric ICLTM corrects you nearsightedness as well as your astigmatism in one single procedure. Each lens is custom made to meet the needs of each individual person.
  • The ICL provides high patient satisfaction - The ICLTM provides high quality of vision, and is a highly precise and predictable treatment providing exceptional patient satisfaction.

 

The ICL - The Ultimate Choice, Even for Doctors Themselves

Surgeons around the world have made the ICLTM their procedure of choice more than 65,000 times - not only for their patients, staff and family, but even for themselves.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q Am I a candidate for the ICLTM?
A Yes, if you have nearsightedness, and / or astigmatism and no eye disease. ICL for farsightedness is also available.

Q What are the advantages of the ICLTM?
A lens is small, foldable, and injected through a tiny, pain free, self healing incision in your eye. ICLTM provides highly predictable outcomes, excellent quality of vision and can be removed if necessary.

Q How quickly can I go back to my daily routine & activities?
A Due to the quick recovery after this treatment, you can leave the centre after a couple of hours. You will be able to enjoy your new sight almost immediately and go back to your active lifestyle. Your surgeon will give you detailed advice.

Q What if my vision changes?
A Though unlikely, if during your annual eye exam a major change in your vision is observed, the ICLTM can be removed or replaced. With the ICLTM you can still wear glasses or contact lenses if necessary. The lens does not treat presbyopia or eliminate the need for reading glasses due to age.

Q What is the long-term experience with ICLTM?
A The ICLTM has been available internationally for over 12 years. More than 65,000 lenses have been implanted since then.
The ICL thus provides a high quality of vision, and is a highly precise and predictable treatment providing exceptional patient satisfaction for patients unsuitable for LASIK