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The Implantable Collamer or Implantable Contact Lens is a great option for many patients, particularly those unsuitable for LASIK because of a very high prescription, a thin cornea, or both. ICL surgery involves inserting an artificial lens into the eye(s) to give a patient clear vision.

What is Implantable Contact Lens (ICL) surgery?

During Implantable Contact Lens surgery, also known as EVO Visian ICL phakic lens implant , an artificial lens made from a very thin bio-compatible material is inserted in front of the natural lens. It works by providing additional focusing power to the eye’s optical system.

An important advantage of ICL surgery over other procedures is that the surgery is reversible. The lens implants can be removed and replaced if your vision changes substantially, or you can have laser refinement if needed. This allows multifocal ICL lenses to be implanted as people age and begin to lose their reading vision in their 40s.

How does Implantable Contact Lens (ICL) surgery work?

Your eyes see by allowing light to enter through the cornea and lens, which is focused on the retina. The information is then communicated to the brain via the optic nerve.

Most people with poor eyesight have eyes that are either too long or too short compared to the point of focus created by the cornea and lens. Eyes, which are relatively long, cause images to focus in front of the retina, making you short-sighted. Relatively short eyeballs mean images focus behind the retina, making you long-sighted.

For people with good vision, the eye’s natural lens can change shape to help them see objects at different distances. However, if you have severe short or long sight, the flexibility of the lens is not enough to correct your vision. Fortunately, artificial lenses like the ICL can provide the eye with additional focusing power, enabling you to see without glasses.

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Who are Implantable Contact Lenses suitable for?

OCL Vision offers laser eye surgery to correct most prescriptions. However, as LASIK involves reshaping the cornea using a laser, it is not suitable for people with very thin corneas.

If you have a very high prescription, laser eye surgery may be unsuitable because too much of the cornea would have to be treated to achieve good vision. High prescriptions mean very thick lenses and heavy glasses, and sometimes contact lenses may not be an option. ICL surgery is a realistic solution for people with very high prescriptions.

ICL surgery may also be suitable for people who have dry eyes. Our experienced eye surgeons will examine your eyes thoroughly and recommend the best procedure.

For your surgeon to get the most out of an the ICL procedure for you, your eyesight should not have had a change in prescription of more than 0.5D in a year.

The full range of ICL suitability is as follows:

Patients who are short-sighted with mild to severe myopia (-0.5D to -20D) Patients who are long-sighted with mild to severe hyperopia (+0.5D to +10.0D) Patients with an astigmatism between 0.5 and 6.0 D Patients looking for a procedure that doesn’t create or worsen dry eye syndrome and doesn’t remove any corneal tissue

The full range of ICL suitability is as follows:

Patients aged 21-60
Patients who are short-sighted with mild to severe myopia (-0.5D to -20D)
Patients who are long-sighted with mild to severe hyperopia (+0.5D to +10.0D)
Patients with an astigmatism between 0.5 and 6.0 D
Patients looking for a procedure that doesn’t create or worsen dry eye syndrome and doesn’t remove any corneal tissue

The Implantable Contact Lens (ICL) surgery procedure

The procedure usually takes approximately 10 – 20 minutes and is performed under local anaesthetic with sedation as a daycase.

Your surgeon will first create a micro-opening in the cornea. The folded ICL is then injected into the eye, where the ICL will gently unfold. This is then tucked into the correct position between the natural lens and the iris.

The lens design has been optimised since first introduced in the 1990s making the surgery even safer. To date, there have been over 1,000,000 ICLs successfully implanted worldwide.

implantable contact lens

Implantable Contact Lens (ICL) surgery recovery

Most patients experience only minimal discomfort and are able to go back to work within a few days of the procedure. Patients will not be able to feel the artificial lens inside their eye(s).

Following surgery, you will probably see better than you ever did with your glasses and can enjoy the activities that were always restricted before. Read about the ICL experience of one of OCL Vision’s past patients, David, here .


How much does Implantable Contact Lens (ICL) surgery cost?

At OCL Vision, our ICL surgery starts from £6700 for both eyes. An anaesthetist may be required; in this case there will be an additional charge of £300 for one eye or £500 for both eyes.

Toric lenses will be charged at an additional £250 per eye.

If you would prefer to spread the cost of your surgery, we offer payment plan options up to 60 months with 0% finance repayment plan to split the cost of your surgery. A minimum deposit of 10% will be taken.

Implantable Contact Lens (ICL) surgery vs LASIK

ICL surgery has a similar function to laser eye surgery in that it corrects refractive errors, whether long- or short-sightedness.

However, the two procedures are distinguished by the way surgery is performed. ICL involves inserting an artificial lens into the eye(s) through a tiny opening, while LASIK employs a laser to create a corneal flap and then to reshape the cornea to correct the prescription.

What are the benefits of Implantable Contact Lens (ICL) surgery?

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Excellent results

99.4% of patients say that they would have the procedure again

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Fast recovery time

Many patients report drastically improved vision straight after the surgery

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Night vision

ICL can facilitate excellent night vision

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Thin corneas

ICL is a great option for those with thin corneas, who may not be eligible for laser eye surgery

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High prescriptions

ICL can suit patients with a high level of nearsightedness, up to -20D. These patients may not quality for laser eye surgery

What are the risks of Implantable Contact Lens (ICL) surgery?

Published, peer reviewed safety data shows that EVO ICL surgery has an excellent track record of outcomes and safety, with a very low rate of adverse events. As with any surgery, ICL does come with risks, although we at OCL Vision do everything possible to mitigate these. Prior to surgery your consultant will discuss risks with you to help you make an informed decision.

Implantable Contact Lens (ICL) surgery FAQs

We understand that you may have questions about undertaking ICL surgery. Here we answer some of the most common questions. If you have further queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on 0203 369 2020.

Can I wear eye makeup after ICL surgery?

Yes, we advise leaving it a week after the surgery but after this time, eye make up can be worn as and removed as normal.

When can I exercise after ICL

We advise resuming light exercise 5 days after treatment and full exercise 2 weeks after treatment.

Is there an age limit for ICL?

EVO Visian ICL is suitable for use in the UK from 21 to 60 years old.

Can you wear contact lenses after ICL?

Yes, although given the ICL corrects most prescriptions, there is a rarely a requirement to do so. Cosmetic contact lenses can be worn a month after surgery.

How long does ICL surgery last?

The EVO Visian ICL is designed to be a permanent vision correction solution yet can be removed should the patient’s visual needs change. EVO is intended to remain in place without maintenance. The lens can be removed by a surgeon, if needed in the future. If your physician removes the lens, you will lose the benefit of your vision correction.

Is ICL painful?

ICL is a quick, painless same-day surgery to help you achieve better vision. The procedure is painless because of the numbing medication applied to the eye prior to the procedure.



Last updated on May 28th, 2024 by Ms. Lara de Benito-Llopis