Many people think that LASIK is the only option when it comes to permanent vision correction. And while LASIK is an excellent option for thousands, even millions, of people, it’s not for everyone. LASIK is not recommended for people with dry eyes, thin or irregularly shaped corneas or needing high degrees of correction. But those who are not good candidates for LASIK may be excellent candidates for another vision correction procedure: ICL.
Why Haven’t I Heard of ICL Before?
ICL stands for implantable collamer lens or implantable contact lens (they’re pretty much interchangeable terms). ICL is a new approach vision correction than LASIK, one that not many doctors or clinics offer. Unfortunately, when it comes to vision correction, many doctors and clinics are very competitive, making them unlikely to refer patients to someone else for a vision correction option they don’t offer. Worse yet, in order to give patients some sort of treatment, LASIK-only clinics will often perform LASIK procedures on patients who are not ideal candidates, resulting in poor results and limited options for the future. Bernitsky Vision, on the other hand, offers a wide range of vision correction procedures, including ICL, so that we can provide patients with the solution that best meets their needs.
How ICL Works
The function of your eye’s natural lens is to bend light rays, focusing them exactly on the retina where light-sensing rod and cone cells convert the light rays to electrical impulses that travel to the brain via the optic nerve. The brain, then, creates an image from the nerve impulses. If the curve of the lens is too convex or concave, light rays hit in front of or in back of the retina, resulting in nearsightedness (myopia) or farsightedness (hyperopia).
ICL corrective surgery works by placing an artificial lens between the iris and your natural lens. The implanted lens is the precise shape needed to focus received light rays onto the retina.
Why Implantable Is Ideal
Unlike LASIK and PRK, no natural eye tissue is removed or reshaped during the ICL procedure. A small incision is made to access the space where the lens will be implanted, and this incision will heal completely. Keeping all natural tissues intact gives ICL some distinct benefits:
Because so little eye tissue is affected by the procedure, there is little recovery time, and little pain or discomfort during healing. Most people who get ICL return to normal activities the following day. (Sorry, no extended work leave for this procedure.)
Removable, reversible, flexible
Although ICL can be a permanent vision correction procedure, if your eyes change dramatically and/or you require some other corrective procedure, the artificial lens can be removed—and reinserted. Removing the implanted lens restores your vision to the state it would naturally be if no vision correction procedure were done at all, and that gives you the option of more vision correction procedures in the future.
The addition of a lens and the material it is made of also provide eye health benefits. The collamer lens inserted during ICL is primarily made of a collagen, a naturally occurring substance in your body. That means that the lens is biocompatible—your body won’t reject it or develop an allergy to it. The artificial lens also filters UV radiation, providing protection to tissues behind it.
Because ICL does not permanently affect any eye tissue, it is not limited in the same way that LASIK and PRK are. So, people with thin corneas are often good candidates for ICL, as may be people with high prescriptions. And, because ICL does not cause or exacerbate dry eye, those with less than ideal natural lubrication may still be able to get permanent vision correction.
If you are considering tossing out your glasses and contacts in favor of permanent vision corrections, consider all your options. Contact Bernitsky Vision for a consultation and learn more about ICL.