The implantable contact lens (ICL) works like a contact lens and the procedure aims to correct refractive error without compromising the cornea structural integrity and thus may be an alternative for those unsuitable for LASIK or Epi – Lasik. It acts just like a contact lens but instead of being worn on the surface, is placed inside the eye, at/or behind a structure of the eye known as the iris.
Unlike LASIK or Epi-Lasik, it does not alter the shape of the cornea. Any refractive procedures such as LASIK offer the promise of improved visual acuity but the quality of your vision may vary significantly based on the procedure you choose and the power corrected. The ICL, as an alternative to LASIK or Epi – LASIK, provides vision correction that goes beyond LASIK in certain cases. It helps you enjoy crisp sharp, vivid vision with good colour contrast and improved night vision in certain cases as compared to LASIK and Epi-LASIK.
The ICL procedure is a reversible procedure that is able to correct high myopia as well as astigmatism. In addition, should your prescription change, the ICL is further replaceable and reversible to maintain your vision for the many years to come. It is a painless procedure that allows prompt vision recovery. The surgery does not significantly change your cornea shape or thickness and thus, is able to avoid any cornea related complications such as corneal ectasia. Furthermore, the lens inserted contains UV protecting properties that aims to prevent harmful UVA and UV B rays from entering the eyes. It has a much shorter recovery period compared to cornea based ablation procedures. The LASIK procedure commonly causes dry eyes, however, in the ICL procedure, no dry eye condition is being induced or worsen as no nerve that stimulates tearing are destroyed.
Candidates should be between the ages of 21 to 45 years old. They should suffer from moderate to high myopia of up till -19.0 Dioptres, astigmatism of up to 6 Dioptres and hypermetropia of up to +10 Dioptres. They should preferably not have any previous surgery done, eye diseases or any systemic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.
Those patients who have previously undergone an ICL procedure are still suitable to go for cataract surgeries should the need arise in the future. Note: Patients older than 45 years old would be better served with lens replacement (cataract) surgery with multifocal lens implantation.
During the surgery, a thin and pliable lens is implanted into the eye through a micro opening in the cornea without removing the eye’s natural lens. It is a safe, effective and reversible procedure as it does not alter the shape or thickness of the corneal tissue. This lens works with the eye’s natural lens to improve vision. It is often used as a alternative to Lasik/Epi –Lasik for those who have severe near sightedness for permanent vision improvement. Similarly to Epi-Lasik, implantable contact lenses (ICLs) can be used for ‘mono vision’ correction in Presbyopia
The risks for ICL are generally low. However, since it is an intraocular procedure, the risk of serious sight threatening complications is slightly higher as compared to cornea surgeries such as LASIK.
The complications of the surgery are somewhat similar to a cataract surgery. It may include an intra – ocular infection (1 in 1000 risk) and if severe, vision may be permanent lost. There may also be a rise in intra ocular pressure in the eye soon after surgery. However, the risk for this complication reduced by performing a procedure known as laser iridotomy before the ICL implantation as a routine. There is also a risk of cataract developing. If that occurs to the extent that vision is significantly affected, then it is advisable the ICL be removed and a cataract operation: a replacement Intra Ocular Lens (IOL) implantation be done.
After the surgery, one can continue with their daily activities with minimal maintenance. There is no necessity to avoid most sports, water sports or eye make ups.
The outpatient ICL eye surgery is performed in less than 30mins. Before the procedure, the eye will be numbed with a topical or local anesthetic. The implantable lens is inserted through a small incision made in the eye and planted in position in front of the natural eye lens. A gel substance is also injected into the eye with it to help settle the lens in the right place. After the surgery, the gel is removed.
Two types of lenses are available for ICL eye surgery. A foldable lens, the Visan ICL is inserted through a small incision and unfolds into its place between the iris and the eye’s natural lens. This procedure requires an extremely small incision that is self-healing.
The Verisyse lens, on the other hand, is inserted in front of the iris through a somewhat larger incision that must be closed with sutures which dissolve over time.
Your first visit after the ICL surgery would be the next day. You may be instructed to use an eye shield and eye drops in order to protect your eyes while in heals.
Most patients would notice an improvement in vision on the day of their surgery. The optimal effects are noticed in about one to seven days. The total recovery period in ICL eye surgery is relatively short. Your eye should be completely healed within one to two months.