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Implantable Contact Lens (ICL)

Implantable Contact Lens (ICL) The visual recovery is usually rapid and noted within hours of the procedure. The surgical correction of high degrees of nearsightedness or farsightedness may be accomplished by the insertion of a lens in the eye referred to as the Implantable Contact Lens (ICL). Unlike a contact lens the ICL is placed inside your eye rather than on the surface of your eye. The lens is soft and tiny much like your natural lens but does not replace it. It is extremely thin with a central thickness of that of a human hair. The visual recovery is usually rapid and noted within hours of the procedure.

Because the ICL is tiny and soft it can be folded up so small that it can be injected into your eye in seconds through a tiny hole underneath your eyelid. Once injected the ICL unforlds into position in the liquid between your iris and your natural lens—and there it stays correcting your eyesight without any further treatment being necessary.

What are the advantages of the ICL?

   * Potential for excellent quality of vision without glasses or contact lenses.
   * A high percentage of patients report an improvement in vision over glasses or contact lenses.
   * A reversible procedure since no tissue is removed.
   * Near vision remains unchanged
     unlike with a refractive lens exchange in which the crystalline lens of the eye is replaced with an artificial lens.

Why is laser vision correction not recommended for a high prescription?

Laser vision correction is an excellent procedure but not everyone is an ideal candidate. Laser surgery for high prescriptions removes too much corneal tissue and potentially weakens the strength of the eye. In addition the quality of vision can be compromised when the cornea is too flat (correction of high nearsightedness) or too steep (correction of high farsightedness).

What is involved with ICL surgery?

The procedure is performed on one eye at a time and is relatively easy to undergo.

  1. On the day of surgery dilating drops are instilled to enlarge the pupil.
  2. Anesthetic drops are then used to freeze the surface of the eye.
  3. In the operating room the lids and eye are cleaned with a disinfecting solution.
  4. A paper drape is placed over the face and body.
  5. A small opening is created in the drape over the operated eye and a speculum is used to hold the lids apart.
  6. A microincision (3 mm) is made in the cornea.
  7. The ICL is carefully folded into a cartridge and then slowly injected into the front of the eye.
  8. The lens is then gently positioned behind the iris.
  9. The pupil is constricted and an antibiotic is instilled.
 10. No patch is required.
 11. Follow-up examinations will be performed postoperatively at 1 day
     1 week
     1 month
     3 months
     6 months
     and 1 year.

What are the potential risks of the ICL?

   * With any intraocular procedure there is a risk of infection in the eye (1 in 10
   * Rarely a visually significant cataract (1 in 1
     000) could develop. If this occurs surgery can be performed to restore vision.
   * An elevation in eye pressure (1 in 500) could develop that may require topical medication.
   * Glare or halos could develop that usually resolve with time.

Can vision be further refined after the ICL procedure? The majority of patients following insertion of the ICL will not require glasses. If one is not satisfied with the level of vision then a custom laser vision correction procedure (LASIK or Advanced Surface Ablation) can be performed.

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