Why Invest in Implantable Contact Lenses?

Implantable contact lenses are soft, flexible artificial lenses that look very similar to conventional contact lenses. However, rather than being removable, they are permanently implanted into the eye and sit between the natural lens and the iris. You may also hear them referred to as ICLs or Phakic Intraocular Lenses (pIOL's). These are not to be confused with regular Intraocular Lenses or IOLS, which are used to replace the natural lens of the eye when a patient has a condition like cataracts. 


The purpose of implantable contact lenses is to treat the same refractive eye errors that can also be corrected using prescription glasses or contact lenses, or laser vision correction surgery. This includes myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. 


What to Expect During an Implantable Contact Lens Procedure?


ICL surgery is performed as an outpatient which means that you will attend the day of your appointment and be able to go home the very same day. In some cases, it may be possible for you to have both eyes treated at once, but your ICL surgeon will need to confirm if this is a suitable option for you. 


ICL surgery is carried out under local anesthetic meaning that you will be awake for the procedure. You’ll be given eye drops that will both dilate your eyes and anesthetize them, and you’ll be given either an oral or IV sedative which will keep you calm and still while the surgery is performed. Once ready, your surgeon will create a tiny (2.8mm) incision in your eye and implant the lens using a special device where it will sit behind the iris. If you have astigmatism, your lens may need to be rotated to put it in the correct position for correcting your vision (astigmatism is corrected using toric ICLs). You may be given antibiotic eye drops to lower your risk of infection, and then asked to rest. Around an hour or so later, your ICL surgeon will examine your eyes and check your vision and your eye pressure to make sure that the surgery has been successful and that you haven’t experienced any adverse effects. 


You’ll be provided with aftercare instructions which will include using prescription eyedrops exactly as directed, and you will need to return to have your eyes assessed at the stated intervals. Most patients find that their vision starts to improve within 24 hours of the surgery. 


What are the Benefits of Implantable Contact Lenses?


Implantable contact lenses aren’t the most well-known solution, but they are highly effective at treating a wide prescription range in patients who have refractive eye errors. There are a variety of reasons why patients should consider investing in implantable contact lenses. These include: 


  • ICLs help patients to enjoy clear vision day and night without needing to wear glasses or conventional contact lenses.

  • ICLs are reversible, meaning that you can change for a different lens power in the future or for an IOL if necessary, although this will mean undergoing another surgery.

  • You can’t see or feel the ICL once it has been implanted.

  • There’s no need to clean or maintain the ICL.

  • ICLs contain UV protection which helps to protect your eyes from the damage that could be caused by exposure to the sun. 

  • ICLs are made from a biocompatible material called Collamer, which means that your body will not reject it.

  • There’s no permanent modification to the cornea, as is the case when patients undergo laser vision correction surgery.

  • The cornea remains the same thickness and its integrity isn’t compromised in any way.

  • The procedure to place ICLs is minimally invasive, painless, and quick and patients can go home the same day. 

  • It may be possible for you to have both eyes treated on the same day. 

  • The patient vision should be fairly clear within two to three days, helping you to get back to your life as quickly as possible. 

  • ICL surgery is considered to be extremely safe, with more than 800k procedures performed worldwide. 




If you would like more information about implantable contact lenses, please speak to our knowledgeable eye care team in Atlanta GA. 

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