Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL): What is it?

Do you wear glasses or contact lenses to help you see objects that are in the distance? You are nearsighted (a condition called myopia). This is a type of focusing error that results in blurry distance vision and can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses or eye surgery. One option is called the Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL) which corrects nearsightedness the same way as glasses or contact lenses do. The difference is that a surgeon permanently implants the lens in your eye so you don't have to wear corrective lenses on the outside. The procedure takes about 15 minutes for each eye and you can usually have both eyes done on the same day.

What is ICL? Implantable collamer lens is an innovative type of refractive lens that works together with your natural lens to provide clear, corrected vision for a refraction between -3 to -15 diopters and possibly over. The Woodhams Eye Clinic website section on ICL is a great resource to answer many of your questions about this procedure and explains ICL is an implant situated behind the iris and in front of the natural crystalline lens. The ICL actually works in conjunction with your natural lens to give you clear vision. The FDA approved the procedure in 2005. There is virtually no pain associated with ICL surgery.

What Are The Benefits? The ICL can now give these patients the opportunity to experience the same lifestyle change that LASIK surgery has brought to millions. ICLs give you the same vision correction as contact lenses do but remain in place without the need for daily cleaning or disinfecting. Another benefit is that, unlike LASIK, the procedure is reversible should your prescription change significantly. These lenses rarely have to be changed since after puberty the refraction is stable until the age related changes begin around the age of 40 or over. ICL surgery does not permanently alter your cornea or any part of your eye, so the ICL can be surgically removed or replaced. The lens is simply added to help your eye's own lens work better.

Who Is A Candidate For ICL? Individuals who suffer from moderate to extreme nearsightedness may be good candidates for ICL. The procedure can be an excellent option for patients who do not qualify for LASIK because of high prescriptions, thin corneas, dry eye syndrome or large pupils. The FDA recommends ICL patients be between ages 21 and 45 and have -3 diopters to -15 diopters nearsightedness. Patients over -15 diopters may be able to have a LASIK touch up to treat the residual myopia or astigmatism. Surgeons often recommend ICL surgery patients not drive for a day or two after surgery to give eyes time to adjust to the implanted lenses. Otherwise, you may be able to return to work or your normal daily routine the very next day.

Would you like to talk to someone about ICL? Enter your information below and one of our patient care advocates will reach out to you or you can call us at 770-394-4000.

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