A Flexible Vision Correction Procedure to Rid You of Glasses and Contacts.
As one of the most advanced ophthalmology groups in the area, we are excited to offer the Implantable Collamer Lens as a vision correction option for patients. This cutting-edge lens can help you reduce your dependence on glasses and corrective lenses without altering the natural anatomy of your eyes.
What is an ICL and how can it improve my vision?
ICL stands for implantable collamer lens. Developed by Staar Surgical, a company focused on vision correction, it is a lens made up of an advanced, soft material composed of 100% biocompatible collagen copolymer. Unlike other vision correction procedures that permanently alter the shape of your cornea, ICL surgery is additional, which means it adds to your eye’s natural state. The Visian ICL, once implanted in your eye, provides not only vision correction but also UV protection. Oftentimes, patients see an improvement to their quality of vision that is sharper, clearer and more vivid than what they can achieve with traditional glasses or contacts.
ICL surgery is an elective vision correction procedure and like all other vision correction procedures is therefore not covered by insurance. If you suffer from moderate to severe myopia (nearsightedness: those who can see up close) or astigmatism, ICL surgery can help you eliminate your need for glasses or contacts. As one of the newest options for vision correction, the ICL received FDA approval for a wide range of myopic (nearsightedness) correction needs in 2005. And more recently, in 2018 ICLs that correct astigmatism were FDA approved. Worldwide, the ICL has been implanted in more than 800,000 patients with an extremely high satisfaction rate—above 99%!
Like other types of refractive surgery, the goal of ICL surgery is to improve your vision and help you achieve reduced or total independence from glasses and contact lenses. To do this, the tiny biocompatible lens is implanted in the eye. With little to no maintenance associated with the lens, you can enjoy clearer, sharper, and more vivid vision!
Common Refractive Errors & Their Meaning
When we look at an object, a complex chain of events happens. First, light enters the eye through your cornea, where it is bent (or refracted). It then passes through the pupil and into the lens where it is bent (refracted) again. Finally, the light comes to a point and focuses on the retina, allowing you to see. Nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism occur when there’s a problem accurately bending or refracting incoming light; this is where the term refractive error comes from. These refractive errors are the most common causes of vision impairment.
Nearsightedness (myopia) occurs when the cornea is too steep or the eyeball is too long, which causes light rays to focus in front of the retina. Images of distant objects are blurred, but close objects appear clear.
Astigmatism occurs when the curvature of the cornea is uneven and is shaped more like a football than a round baseball. This irregularity creates multiple focal points in the eye and makes it difficult to clearly focus on near or distant objects.
Currently, the implantable collamer lenses (ICLs) can correct nearsightedness and astigmatism.
Advantages to the Implantable Collamer Lens
One of the most compelling advantages of the Visian ICL is that while it can permanently correct your vision, the lens can be removed and/or replaced if necessary. Furthermore, concerns regarding the health or state of your cornea typically do not apply to patients with the ICL, as no natural corneal tissue is removed or reshaped during implantation. The LASIK Center of Wilmington Eye is excited to offer this evolution in visual freedom!
In addition, there are several other advantages to the ICL that include:
The ICL can drastically improve your vision and eliminate your need for glasses or contacts. After ICL implantation, you can enjoy vision that is sharper, clearer, and more vivid.
No Risk of Dry Eye
Visian ICL does not cause or contribute to dry eye syndrome, like other vision correction procedures. If you have dry eyes, ask your doctor if the Visian ICL may be the best vision correction option for you.
Long-term exposure to UV radiation can damage your eyes, including speeding up the development of cataracts and potentially inducing some retinal problems. As an added feature, the Visian ICL advanced lens material contains a UV blocker that prevents harmful UVA and UVB rays from entering your eye, helping to prevent the development of UV-related eye disorders.
Treatment Flexibility for The Future
Your vision changes as you grow older and eventually most people will need cataract surgery. An important benefit with the Visian ICL is that you have flexible treatment options as your vision changes. Because Visian ICL does not alter the structure of your eye, the measurements required for subsequent procedures are often more reliable and increase the predictability of outcomes.
A True LASIK Alternative
The Visian ICL is a true alternative to LASIK vision correction, different in most every way. Patients who have corneas too thin or prescriptions too high and are thus not candidates for LASIK have a fantastic option for lasting vision correction and independence from glasses and contacts!
Is the Visian ICL Right For Me?
The Visian Implantable Collamer Lens is an amazing solution for patients seeking vision correction. To determine if the ICL is the right vision correction procedure for you, we require each patient to come in for an extensive consultation. This consultation takes approximately 2 hours. We will conduct a dilated eye exam and perform several diagnostic tests to evaluate the health of your eyes, document your refractive error, and map your unique eye characteristics. You will then meet with Dr. Leone, our board-certified vision correction surgeon, to discuss your vision goals and develop a personalized vision correction treatment plan specific to you.
While many factors are considered to determine whether ICL is the best vision correction procedure for you—age, prescription strength, ocular structure being a few—there are some questions that can generally help you determine your potential candidacy.
- Are you at least 21 years or older?
- Are you generally in good health?
- Do you have a stable prescription for at least one year?
In general, Visian ICL may not be the best course of action for you if:
- pregnant or nursing.
- have been diagnoses with Fuch’s corneal endothelia dystrophy.
- have had a prescription change in the last year.
Occasionally, the Visian ICL is deemed unsuitable for a patient. If this occurs, we offer other refractive solutions to help you improve your vision:
LASIK greatly improves your vision by reshaping your cornea using a laser. It is the most common elective vision correction procedure. Learn more about LASIK.
PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy)
Like LASIK, PRK greatly improves your vision by reshaping your cornea using a laser. However, instead of creating a flap to expose the cornea, the protective (epithelial) layer is first removed. Learn more about PRK.
Refractive Lens Exchange
If you’re a candidate for refractive surgery but have been diagnosed with presbyopia, a common age-related vision disorder, a Refractive Lens Exchange may be the best vision procedure for you. Learn more about Refractive Lens Exchange.
No matter what your vision is today, if you’re tired of wearing glasses or contacts, our surgeons can discuss your options for vision correction.
ICL Surgery & Implantation
ICL surgery is performed at an outpatient facility and the entire procedure is completed in less than 20 minutes. In general, ICL surgery is performed in two steps:
- Your surgeon will create a small opening to insert the lens into your eye.
- The lens is injected into the eye. Once injected, it unfolds in the eye and is tucked behind your iris (the colored part of the eye).
This video provides an in-depth look at the Visian ICL implantation.
Our board-certified, highly trained ophthalmic surgeon, Dr. Kathleen C. Leone has helped countless patients achieve increased or total independence from glasses and contacts with the ICL!
What to Expect Before, During and After ICL Implantation
Once our ophthalmic surgeon has determined that the Visian ICL is the best vision correction procedure for you, it’s time to prepare for surgery day.
Before ICL Implantation
Approximately 2 weeks prior to surgery, we will schedule a procedure to prepare your eye for implantation. This procedure is necessary to ensure the fluid inside your eye flows properly after your surgery. During this in-office procedure, your surgeon will apply numbing drops to the eye before making tiny openings in the iris (the colored part of the eye) with a laser. After the procedure, you will be given eye drops to prepare your eyes for surgery.
1 week leading up to your surgery, we ask that you refrain from using contact lenses and switch to glasses full-time. Contact lenses distort the natural shape of your cornea and may lead to a less than optimal surgical outcome. Another very important part of your pre-operative care is continuing any routine care, such as using your prescription eye drops for dry eye. Your surgeon will discuss any additional pre-operative care with you during your initial consultation.
The morning of your surgery, it is best to refrain from wearing lotion, sunscreen, or makeup as these things can interfere with surgery.
During ICL Implantation
You may be sedated while surgery is being performed. Your surgeon will apply anesthetic and dilating eye drops before the procedure to minimize any discomfort. Then, your surgeon will create two micro openings in the edge of your cornea that will be used to insert and position the lens. Next, the lens is inserted, gently unfolding in your eye. Special marks on the lens ensure proper positioning of the lens inside the eye. Because the opening is microscopic, recovery time is very short, and sutures are not needed.
One eye is done at a time, with both eyes being done on the same surgery day. The entire procedure is completed in less than 20 minutes! However, please plan on being at the surgery center for a few hours.
After ICL Implantation
Driving is not permitted after surgery, so you will need to make arrangements for a loved one to drive you to and from the procedure. Once at home, you should rest quietly and avoid exertion. Your surgeon will prescribe eye drops to help prevent infection and inflammation.
Blurry vision and haziness following your surgery are perfectly normal. Full recovery and stabilized eyesight can take days and, in some cases, weeks. You will be seen for your first post-operative exam within 24 hours following your procedure. During this exam, your surgeon will ensure that your eyes are healing accordingly.
At Wilmington Eye, post-operative care for an entire year following your surgery is included in the cost of ICL implantation surgery.
An important thing to remember for the long-term care of your vision is continued routine eye care. If you don’t have a regular optometrist, we can recommend one of our board-certified, highly trained optometrists to help you manage and maintain your new vision.
The True Cost of the Visian ICL
Our goal is to help you achieve independence from glasses or contacts. During your comprehensive evaluation, we will discuss procedure costs for ICL vision correction, as well as affordable financing options available through CareCredit. Our fully comprehensive ICL cost includes:
- All pre-operative measurements and exams
- A personalized and flexible surgical plan
- All post-operative checkups for one year
There are no hidden fees or variations in pricing based on your refractive errors.
In addition to affordable financing options, we also accept funds from FSA and HSA accounts. If you would like to request a consultation to discuss the Visian ICL and pricing with a vision correction specialist, you can do so today.
The Risks of the Visian ICL
The Visian ICL has a very high satisfaction rate, surpassing 99%! However, like any surgery, there are associated risks. Some associated risks include:
- Edema (swelling)
- Loss of vision
- Need for reading glasses in the future
- Need for enhancements in the future
- Glare or halos
- Retinal tear or retinal detachment
While many of these side effects are temporary, there have been rare instances of reported long-term problems. Your surgeon will be able to explain any risks or side effects during your initial consultation.
Implantable Collamer Lens FAQs
The Visian ICL is designed to be completely unobtrusive after it is put in place. It stays in position by itself and does not interact with any of the eye’s structures.
No. The Visian ICL is positioned behind the iris (the colored part of the eye), where it is invisible to both you and observers.
Although the lens is intended to remain in place permanently, a surgeon can remove the implant if necessary.
Extensive research and development preceded the introduction of the Visian ICL. It is now being used by more than 800,000 patients worldwide. The satisfaction rate among patients is extremely high – above 99%. The Visian ICL provides unparalleled quality of vision and has excellent and stable outcomes for patients with moderate to severe myopia. The Visian ICL has been available internationally for over 10 years and was FDA approved in the US in 2005.
Yes. The Visian ICL received approval from the FDA for a wide range of myopic (nearsightedness) correction needs in 2005.