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Implantable Contact Lenses ICL- Procedure recovery and risks

A refractive error can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses or eye surgery.  One option is phakic lenses called the Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL) which is a thin clear lens surgically implanted into the eye as long-term solution for short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism. It corrects refractive error the same way as glasses or contact lenses do. The difference is that a surgeon permanently implants the lens in your eye between the iris (the coloured part of the eye) and the natural lens so you don’t have to wear corrective lenses on the surface of the eye like traditional contact lenses. Once implanted, the lens stays indefinitely in the eye. However, if your vision changes dramatically over time, the lens can be easily replaced or removed.

Am I suitable candidate?
• Ages of 21 and 40 years
• Stable vision
• Currently wear uncomfortable or thick glasses (extreme high eye power)
• Struggle with wearing contact lenses
• Are unsuitable for laser eye surgery such as LASIK or Advanced Surface Ablation (due to thin cornea)
• Dry eyes patients
ICL is not preferred if you have a history of eye disease such as iritis, glaucoma, or diabetic retinopathy.

What is an Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL)?
The Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL) is a clear thin phakic lens that is surgically implanted into the eye. The ICL cannot be felt while in the eye, requires no maintenance. The ICL does not replace your natural lens, but is implanted in front of your natural lens and behind your iris (the coloured part of the eye).
The procedure is a permanent one or until you decide that you may want to remove it.  The ICL has the advantage of being reversible.
The ICL is specifically manufactured to correct your prescription and its strength is determined after a thorough series of measurements at our clinic. Some patient worry about the cost of ICL but it is not much different than any advanced laser vision correction surgery like Smile Lasik. 

The procedure: 
The ICL procedure is a low risk short 15 minute outpatient procedure. Prior to the implantation of ICL, you will receive topical anesthetic drops to minimize discomfort. A micro opening is created to insert the ICL lens. The lens is folded and loaded into a small cartridge and as the lens is injected, it gently unfolds in your eye. The immediate improvement of vision quality and the remarkably short and painless recovery produces is a unique.

You only spend 20 to 30 minutes in the theatre but will be at the Day Procedure Centre for 2-3 hours.  You will need to have someone collect you and stay with you at home afterwards while you recover.

Usually the eyes are treated a minimum of one week apart.

Advantages of ICL?
• It is a low-risk and permanent solution
• The lens cannot be felt while in the eye
• No maintenance is required
• The lens can be removed if required – reversible procedure

How do i prepare for ICL surgery?
There are a few things to remember prior to your surgery:
• Do not wear soft contact lenses for 7 days prior to your surgery (or as advised)
• Do not wear any make up or fragrances on the day or surgery
• Take any prescribed medications as usual.

What to expect after ICL surgery?
Until all the drops wear off, your vision may be blurry, however, most patients see well the next day.  You vision will likely fluctuate as the eyes heal over the first few weeks following ICL surgery.  There may be some mild discomfort or a gritty sensation for a few days after the procedure. You should plan to avoid strenuous activity for 48 hours. Recovery period is short. 

After ICL surgery, you will be prescribed antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops to take for a few weeks.  Most patients can resume normal activities within a week of their ICL surgery, however, you do not drive until you have been advised that it is safe to do so. 

What are the risks with ICL surgery?
People worry about the side effects of ICL surgery. But risks and complications after ICL are rare and often only minor if they occur. ICL surgery is a safe procedure, but like all surgical or medical procedures there is always a risk of complication. All known complications will be discussed at your consultation. You just need to make sure that your eye doctor is an expert ICL surgeon and has experience of doing these ICL surgery as a routine. You can also look at reviews of ICL surgery done by your eye surgeon.