The implantable contact lens procedure is an alternative to the LASIK procedure. Both types of surgery are used to permanently improve vision for the patient. The LASIK surgery (laser-assisted in situ keratomileuses) changes the shape of the cornea, resulting in a more focused light on the retina of the patient. After LASIK surgery, patients see better without needing glasses or contact lenses. The ICL procedure is also surgical and results in improved vision. Within a short 30-minute window, the eye is numbed, and an implantable lens is inserted into the eye.
Why Consider Implantable Contact Lenses?
ICL eye surgery is often a good option for people who aren’t good candidates for the LASIK procedure. The implanted lens is used to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. After the surgical procedure, patients may find that they no longer need to wear glasses or contact lenses to see.
What Does the ICL Procedure Involve?
The process of this outpatient surgery begins about a week before the procedure. Patients should carefully follow any instructions provided by the surgeon before and after the surgery.
- A laser is used to make tiny holes near the front of the eye to prevent fluid buildup after the procedure is complete.
- Several days before the procedure, patients receive anti-inflammatory drops or antibiotics.
- The surgery begins with a mild anesthetic that numbs the eye.
- Patients may receive a mild sedative to help them relax.
- The eye and the area around it are cleaned. The eyelid is held open with a special tool.
- The surgeon makes a small incision before adding a bit of lubricant.
- The implantable contact lens is then slipped into the incision where it floats in front of the eye’s natural lens.
- Excess lubricant is removed at this point, and, if necessary, small stitches are added to the incision.
- Drops or ointment is put into the eye, and the patient is provided with an eye patch to keep the area protected.
Although the entire procedure lasts less than 30 minutes, patients are usually monitored for a few hours before they are sent home. It’s important that patients have a friend or family member with them to provide transportation to and from the surgery.
How Long Does the Recovery Period Last?
Recovery from an icl surgery procedure may be as quick as a single day or may take up to seven days. Within just a month or two, the eye should be completely healed. During the recovery period, patients should follow up with their ophthalmologist and continue using the prescribed eye drops and protective eye patch.
Is ICL Surgery an Option for You?
If you have considered LASIK surgery for vision improvement, but you aren’t a good candidate, you may want to consider the ICL surgery instead. An ophthalmologist in your area can help you decide whether this procedure is appropriate for you.