Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL)

Closeup,Photo,Of,Elastic,Intra,Ocular,Lens,For,Cataract,Surgery ICL

What is an ICL?

An ICL, or implantable collamer lens, is an artificial lens designed to correct refractive errors. This specialized lens is similar to a contact lens, but is instead implanted in front of the eye’s natural lens and behind the iris. This provides long-term correction of refractive errors and is virtually unnoticeable. ICLs have been in use for nearly two decades and have a history of safety and effectiveness because no tissue is removed during the procedure. ICLs offer an effective alternative to many laser procedures.

Am I a candidate for Implantable Collamer Lenses?

The best candidates for ICLs are patients above 18 years old who have moderate to severe refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. Most often, good candidates for ICLs are patients who are otherwise not good candidates for laser procedures because of factors like thin corneas or high prescription. In some cases, it’s possible to remove ICLs later on if needed. It’s important to note that having thin or irregular corneas, very high prescriptions, or severely dry eyes may mean that ICLs are not a good option for you. Additionally, your prescription should be stable and no longer drastically changing.

View Video

What happens during an ICL procedure?

ICLs can be placed in about 10-15 minutes per eye. There is very little pain or discomfort involved, and we’ll administer anesthetic eye drops and a mild sedative so that you’re relaxed and comfortable. Once you’re ready, the ICL is inserted behind the iris and in front of the natural lens through a tiny incision. Once in place, the ICL does not touch or interact with any of the eye’s other internal structures, so you likely won’t feel or notice the lens once it’s in place.

“ I came to Dr. Nguyen for ICL (implantable collamer lens) surgery, as another surgeon had evaluated me as not a good candidate for LASIK due to my high prescription. Everything was very straightforward, and the staff and Dr. Nguyen answered my questions completely and promptly, often going out of their way to answer after business hours. The surgery itself was very easy, and I had complete confidence in Dr. Nguyen - which is saying something, b/c this was my first ever surgical procedure. My recovery was a little less linear/slower than I had expected, but everyone reacts to surgery differently, especially with something as complicated as your eyes, so ymmv. The side effects were a little stressful at first, but I'm now 6 weeks post-surgery and very happy with the results ”

What can I expect after the procedure?

After the procedure, you’ll be instructed to use prescription eye drops to reduce discomfort and help your eyes heal. The incisions are self-healing and will recover quickly. Most patients notice improvement in their vision as early as the day after the procedure where it’s often described as extremely high-definition. In the few days following the procedure, your vision will continue to improve as the eye heals and adjusts to the implant. We’ll follow up with you regularly to ensure that your eyes are healing and you’re experiencing no complications.

To get started on your options with Implantable Collamer Lenses, we invite you to request an appointment at our Falls Church office by calling or filling out our online form. Dr. Anh Nguyen and our expert ophthalmologists can recommend the right options for you for long-term vision correction.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can ICL cause glaucoma?

ICL can cause glaucoma if the implant is oversized or incorrectly positioned, however, the chances for this are very low.

Can an intraocular lens be removed and replaced?

Although rare, IOLs (intraocular lenses) can be removed and replaced - typically because of incorrect power or shifting within the eye.

Can ICL change eye color?

No, the ICL is a clear implant that is inserted between the eyes natural lens and iris.

How long does ICL last?

ICL is permanent, but it can always be removed if necessary.

What is a toric implant?

A toric implant corrects for astigmatism just as a toric contact lens does.

How long after lens replacement can I exercise?

You can start low impact exercise on the second or third day, but you should avoid lifting heavy weights or exercises that involve bending down for the first week or two.

Is ICL permanent?

Yes, however it can always be removed if necessary.

What are toric lenses used for?

Toric lenses are used to correct for astigmatism.

Does ICL correct astigmatism?

Yes, a toric lens implant can be placed to correct for astigmatism.

What is ICL procedure?

ICL is an alternative to Lasik and PRK that reduces the dependency on glasses and contacts.

Can you get ICL after Lasik?

Yes - you can have ICL surgery after undergoing LASIK.

Do you have to get toric lenses for astigmatism?

Toric lenses are effective for astigmatism because they retain their shape rather than conforming to the surface of the eye like regular lenses. This helps accommodate astigmatic eyes which are misshapen.

How are toric lenses different?

Toric lenses are weighted at the bottom to help them retain their shape and position. This helps compensate for the irregular shape of astigmatic eyes.

Can ICL correct astigmatism?

ICL is best for myopia and astigmatism. It can achieve permanent results and reduce the need for glasses or contact lenses.

How long does it take for a lens implant to heal?

It can take about 8-12 weeks for an implanted lens to fully heal. During this time, its very important to protect your eyes from irritation.

Is ICL painful?

ICL is a very quick procedure performed with a local anesthetic and mild sedative so youre comfortable. Surgery is typically fully completed within 30 minutes.

What is Visian Toric ICL?

The Visian Toric ICL is an implantable lens that can restore vision permanently for patients who dont qualify for LASIK. Its similar to a contact lens that does not need to be removed.

What causes halos after ICL?

Halos can occur when the eyes dilate beyond the area of the ICL. Light that enters the pupil outside of the lens can look brighter, causing a ring effect.

Can an intraocular lens be removed and replaced?

Yes. Although rare, ICLs can be removed and replaced. This is typically because of incorrect power or the lens shifting within the eye.

Can ICL cause glaucoma?

Rarely. ICL can cause glaucoma if the implant is oversized or incorrectly positioned, however, the chances for this are very low.

Can ICL change eye color?

No. The ICL is a clear implant that is inserted between the eyes natural lens and iris.

Can ICL correct astigmatism?

Yes. ICL is often the best option for permanently correcting very high myopia or astigmatism.

Can you get ICL after Lasik?

Yes. You can have ICL surgery after undergoing LASIK.

Should I avoid exercise immediately after ICL surgery?

Yes. You can usually start low impact exercise one week after surgery, but you should avoid lifting heavy weights or exercises that involve bending down for the first two weeks. You should also always consult your doctor before fully restarting your normal exercise regimen.

Is ICL permanent?

Yes. ICL is a permanent solution to poor vision, but it can always be removed if necessary.

Is ICL painful?

No. ICL is a very quick procedure performed with a local anesthetic and mild sedative so youre comfortable. Surgery is typically fully completed within 30 minutes.

What causes halos after ICL?

Yes. Halos can occur when the eyes dilate beyond the area of the ICL. Light that enters the pupil outside of the lens can look brighter, causing a ring effect.

What if my vision changes after the procedure?

We commonly recommend that patients have a stable prescription before undergoing an ICL procedure, meaning you vision hasn’t changed for a year or longer. However, it’s not impossible for your vision to change after the procedure, so we can replace the lenses during a quick and easy procedure to further correct your vision.

Will anyone be able to see the lenses?

ICLs are virtually unnoticeable after implantation since they are placed between the iris (the colored part of your eye) and the natural lens underneath it. Although your surgeon and ophthalmologist will be able to tell whether you’ve had an ICL procedure, most people will not be able to notice.

What is Collamer?

Collamer is a biocompatible material that contains a small amount of purified collagen. It is very safe and effective, and also contains an ultraviolet filter to protect the eyes.

Request Consultation

  • *Hours may vary. Please contact us for questions about scheduling

REQUEST Appointment