ICL (Implantable Collamer® Lens)

Is ICL (Implantable Collamer® Lens) right for me?

If you’re not a candidate for laser-based vision correction procedures, an ICL (Implantable Collamer Lens) may be an option for you.

What is ICL?

ICLs are Implantable Collamer Lenses made from collagen and plastic. ICL Implants require a surgical procedure with a goal of minimizing or eliminating refractive error therefore reducing your dependency on glasses or contact lenses. These are permanent lenses but can be removed at any time if necessary. The ICL is surgically implanted inside the eye, specifically between the iris and the natural lens. It is mainly used to treat nearsightedness, but it can also be used for other refractive errors.

Benefits of ICL

ICLs can be used to treat myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness), and astigmatism. The ICL is placed between the eye’s natural lens and the iris. The artificial lens causes the eye’s natural lens to refract (bend) light directly onto the retina which produces clearer vision. ICLs are a great alternative for patients who are noncandidates for other refractive surgeries. Because there is no corneal tissue removed, the lens is less likely to cause dry eye, and recovery can be quick. 

What happens during ICL procedure?

Although there is little downtime after surgery, we do require our patients to adhere to some restrictions: 

  • no heavy lifting over 15 pounds for 2 weeks
  • no strenuous activity for 2 weeks
  • avoiding dry/dusty areas (or wearing eye protection) for 2 weeks. 


If you work and or attend school in a “high-risk environment” for trauma or foreign objects entering the eye such as construction, cooking, nursing, or emergency services, we may recommend taking 1-2 weeks of absence. 


If you wear soft contact lenses, you will be asked to take them out 1 week before as contact lenses can distort the shape of your cornea, making your measurements inaccurate. Discontinuing contact lens wear will allow your cornea to resume its natural shape. Patients who wear rigid or scleral lenses will be asked to remove them 3 weeks prior. 


You will also be provided with a prescription for some eye drops that you will need to start using 2 days before. Before your surgery, you will meet with a patient educator to sign consent forms, discuss aftercare, and review eye drops. 


Once you are in the surgical suite, we will check your vitals and administer dilating and anesthetizing drops. You will also be given the option to take an antianxiety medication- if you think you will need this medication, please eat a substantial meal and stay hydrated before your procedure. 


You will be asked to stay in our surgical suite for approximately 1-2 hours post-surgery for recovery. Side effects post-ICL surgery include light sensitivity, glare/halo effects, a foreign body sensation, excessive tearing, and blurred vision. Fluctuating vision and light sensitivity may last a few weeks as your eyes adjust and heal. 


Your follow-ups for ICL are to monitor eye pressure and visual acuity. Our staff will keep you updated on your progress during these visits. Please be advised you will need to return to our clinic after 24 hours, 1-3 weeks, 6-8 weeks, 6 months if needed, 1 year, annually.

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