LASIK is the most popular refractive surgical procedure in the world today, but not everyone is suitable for this procedure. Extremely high refractive errors and thin corneas are just some of the reasons some patients may not be suitable for LASIK, ReLEx SMILE or laser vision correction. The Implantable Contact Lens (ICL) may be an option for these patients.
The goal of ICL surgery is to improve one’s vision and to reduce dependence on spectacles or contact lenses. Most individuals may be able to be fully independent of glasses or contact lenses, but some may still require glasses, especially if they have presbyopia, the need for reading glasses as one ages.
The ICL can correct the following refractive errors:
ICL surgery refers to the implantation of a lens (the ICL) in the eye behind the iris and in front of the eye’s natural lens to correct a wide range of refractive error
The ICL is a lens made of a very soft, foldable material (Collamer) that is highly biocompatible with our eye. This material also contains a UV filter which protects the eye against the negative effects of the sun.
The procedure is not entirely new, as the first of such an implant was inserted in 1991 in a patient in Russia. The ICL received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006.
The ICL works very similarly to a contact lens. The difference is that it is not placed on the surface of the eye, but instead, sits inside the eye. As such, the patient will not be able to feel the presence of the lens in the eye once it is inserted. It is also invisible to the observer’s eye. Your friends will not be able to see the ICL in your eye!
The ICL is designed to remain inside the eye and need not be removed. It does not require maintenance like contact lenses which need to be removed, changed or cleaned regularly.
ICL is a safe and effective refractive surgical option. Here are its main advantages:
As ICL surgery involves surgery inside the eye (intraocular surgery), the potential risks are slightly higher than in laser vision correction on the cornea (the outer front covering of the eye). The surgery is still very safe, and serious complications are rare.
Some of the possible side effects include a rise in eye pressure, inflammation, clouding of the crystalline lens, cornea swelling, over -and- under-correction. Fortunately, serious side effects like infection and retinal detachment are rare.
This is what to expect:
In some cases, a few days or weeks prior to the actual ICL surgery, a laser is used to create one or two small holes in the iris (the colored part of the eye). This is to allow proper drainage of fluid in the eye, preventing the eye pressure from increasing after ICL implantation. This procedure, called a laser peripheral iridotomy, is not required in most cases
Here are important points to note:
Most patients are able to return to work a week later.
All three procedures give excellent visual outcomes. Each procedure has its inherent advantages.
Dr Cordelia Chan has had many years of experience performing LASIK, SMILE and the ICL, and based on your profile and needs, she will be able to best advise you on which procedure is best.