Another option for vision correction is an ICL implant. The ICL is a lens implant developed to correct myopia. Although the Visian ICL is often informally named an “implantable contact lens,” in the United States, the acronym ICL stands for “Implantable Collamer Lens.” Collamer is the unique material that the lens is made of. The ICL surgery has some benefits when compared to LASIK or PRK, but also has its own unique set of risks.
The Visian ICL offers unparalleled quality of vision, providing excellent contrast. Two unique factors help explain this superior optical performance. First, the Visian ICL is made of Collamer – a soft, flexible lens material that contains a small amount of collagen – making the lens extremely biocompatible for a lifetime of clear vision. Second, the lens is placed inside the eye, where it continues to focus light accurately without any maintenance required.
The safety and effectiveness of the Visian ICL surgery implantation procedure has been proven with over 125,000 implants worldwide. Unlike corneal refractive surgery (LASIK and PRK), the Visian ICL does not permanently alter the structure of the eye. Instead, the Visian ICL is placed in the eye’s posterior chamber, where it works with the natural lens to correct vision.
Unlike other phakic IOLs, the Visian ICL is foldable. This feature allows physicians to implant the lens using a smaller incision. The small incision procedure is a technique that is familiar to eye surgeons. The Visian ICL requires a 3.0mm (1/8 inch) incision as opposed to the 6.0mm incision required by other FDA-approved phakic IOLs. This smaller incision is seen as less invasive, does not require sutures, and is less likely to cause astigmatism (change the corneal shape).
Although the Visian ICL is meant to stay in the eye indefinitely, it is easily removed by a trained ophthalmic surgeon, leaving the patient’s options open for future treatments. LASIK and PRK permanently alter the eye structures and cannot be reversed if the recipient is dissatisfied or of there are complications.
One amazing aspect of the ICL implant is that many people report that they see better after the procedure than they had ever seen before with glasses or contact lenses. This is related to the quality of the implant material and the location of placement within the eye. The lens actually makes the image a little larger than glasses or contact lenses, which can help you to see small details even clearer. 49% of lens recipients gained one or more lines of best-corrected vision. In other words, if they could see 20/30 with their glasses or contact lenses before the procedure, they improved to 20/20 after the procedure.
Most patients who have had the ICL implant are happy with their decision and feel they had a good outcome from the surgery. In the FDA study of 341 patients, only 1% claimed that they were dissatisfied with the procedure. 97% of patients said they would have the surgery again.