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Your ultimate 2023 guide to implantable contact lens (ICL) surgery

Posted: Jun 07 2023

What are implantable contact lenses?

Implantable contact lenses, also known as Implantable Collamer Lenses, are an increasingly popular alternative to traditional glasses or contact lenses. Unlike contact lenses, which sit on the surface of the eye and may need to be cleaned on a regular basis, implantable contact lenses are inserted inside the eye and become a permanent part of the eye. These implants require surgery and may be a good option for those who cannot have laser surgery because their prescription is too high, their cornea too thin or their eyes too dry. By providing clear vision without glasses or contacts, these implants can improve the quality of life for those who are unable to have laser eye surgery or don’t like wearing glasses or traditional contact lenses.

Implantable contact lenses are a type of phakic intraocular lens (pIOL). This type of implantable contact lens fits between the iris and the natural lens in the eye, allowing it to remain firmly in place. These ICLs have been specifically designed for each patient’s unique prescription and are placed within their eyes under local anaesthetic during specialised surgeries conducted by expert ophthalmologists.

What can you expect from implantable contact lens surgery?

During your initial consultation, an optometrist will assess your eyes and prescription and take a full medical history to ensure no conditions could potentially affect your ability to undergo the procedure. Your consultant – one of many highly trained experts at OCL Vision – will discuss the most suitable procedure with you and any available alternatives.

The anaesthetic and sedatives administered before ICL surgery help reduce discomfort levels during the operation, where either both eyes can be treated on the same day or one eye a week after the first. Having your chosen consultant oversee every stage ensures you have complete continuity throughout and allows peace of mind knowing that you’re in very capable hands.

The operation is relatively short and lasts between 20-30 minutes (15 minutes per eye). We advise you to plan to be at our clinic for up to 4 hours to take into preparation time and recovery time. Once your procedure has taken place, you will be given strict aftercare advice from your consultant. You can expect to have blurred vision for a couple of days after your procedure, which will gradually improve. You can expect best results to be achieved after 2-3 months.

Your implantable contact lenses are designed to last for the rest of your lifetime, however, if you later develop cataracts, the lenses can be removed and the cataract surgery performed as normal.

The benefits of implantable contact lenses

Implantable contact lenses, or ICLs, are a safe and efficient way of correcting vision problems. Unlike LASIK surgery, ICLs do not modify the cornea, meaning there is no corneal tissue thinning. This means that the risk of damage, such as laser-induced dry eye, is eliminated. ICL surgery is a good option for patients who are unable to have laser eye surgery if they already have dry eyes.

  • Excellent results – 99.4% of patients say they would have the procedure again.
  • Fast recovery time – Patients report improved vision straight after surgery.
  • Night Vision – ICL can support excellent night vision once eyes have settled after treatment.
  • Thin corneas – ICL is a great option for those who may not be eligible for laser eye surgery.
  • High prescriptions – ICL can suit patients with near-sightedness up to -20D.

The implantation process itself is relatively simple, with patients returning to normal activities soon after surgery. The small size of ICLs also means that once implanted; they cannot be seen or felt and do not require any ongoing cleaning. Finally, one big advantage of ICL surgery is that it can be reversed at any stage, such as in advance of cataract surgery if needed later in life. Your surgeon can remove your implants at the beginning of your cataract surgery.

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Book your ICL consultation with OCL Vision

If you find your eyesight challenging and unsuitable for laser eye surgery, implantable contact lens surgery could be a great solution for you. Book an ICL consultation with one of our esteemed consultants to find out more about the surgery, how you could benefit and what you can expect during and after the treatment. Be on your way to a clearer vision with OCL Vision today.

OCL Vision is England’s only surgeon-owned, comprehensive private eye care group. With OCL Vision surgeons operating in dedicated clinics in London and Elstree, Hertfordshire, patients can access world-class eye care closer to home with a specialist consultant who has dedicated their career to a specific branch of Ophthalmology.

OCL Vision’s clinics on New Cavendish Street in central London and at Elstree’s Centennial Park provide a wide range of eye-related surgical procedures, including cataract surgery, LASIK and LASEK laser eye surgery, refractive lens exchange surgery, as well as other types of surgical vision correction techniques.

If you have been denied Laser Eye Surgery and would like to discuss other potential treatment options with OCL, make an enquiry online or call on 0203 993 4268

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