ICL Implants

ICL implants are the chosen solution for many people who struggle with different eyeproblems and don’t want to wear glasses or constantly insert and remove contactlenses. Mr Radwan Almousa, one of London’s top ophthalmologists, explains how anICL works, the implantation procedure and more.

What is an ICL implant
ICL (Implantable collamer lens) or Implantable Contact Lenses, as the name implies,is an artificial lens implanted inside the eye to correct refractive errors, like short-sightedness, long-sightedness or astigmatism.

In what part of the eye is the implant placed and what is involved in the implantation procedure?

The ICL is implanted between the iris and the normal lens, which will keep it awayfrom the cornea and closer to the normal lens’ natural position. This positioningmakes these lenses safer than the old iris clip lenses, as in theory they don’t rubagainst the back of the cornea which typically damages it and causes visiondeterioration.

The procedure is usually done under local anaesthesia. It involves making amicroscopic corneal incision through which the ICL lens would be implanted behindthe iris. The incision is usually watertight and doesn’t need suturing.

Is the procedure painful and are there any risks involved?

In general, the procedure is painless and the pain is controlled with topicalanaesthetic. One of the possible risks involved with the surgery could be bleedinginside the eye, which is usually self-resolving. Increased eye pressure might beassociated with ICL surgery and if it becomes a long-term issue, ICL explantation(removal) might be considered. The risk of cataract formation (normal lenscloudiness) over the 10 years after surgery is less than 1%. However, if the cataract was visually significant, another surgery might be needed to remove it and improvevision.

What should people avoid doing after the procedure?

After surgery the patient should avoid rubbing the eye. Although the lens sitssecurely behind the iris, there is a theoretical risk of causing damage to the cornea ifthe patient forces the cornea against the artificial lens through rubbing the eye. Evenin case of no lens implant in the eye, excessive eye rubbing could cause damage tothe cornea and increased lid laxity among other ocular detrimental effects, so itshould be avoided.

How long do ICL implants last?

The materials used to make the ICL lens are inert, meaning they can stay inside theeye without causing any reactive activity. If cataract developed over the years, itmight need to be removed along with the ICL implant.

What is the difference between LASIK and ICL?

ICL is a procedure involving implanting a lens inside the eye to correct refractiveerrors. LASIK is a laser refractive procedure used on the cornea to correct refractiveerrors. ICL is a reversible procedure, which means that the lens implanted could beremoved or replaced if needed, whereas LASIK results can be amended but theprocedure is not reversible.

LASIK surgery is known to cause more dry eye symptoms and in terms of visualoutcome, the ICL procedure has better outcomes when correcting high perscriptions(more than 6 dioptres of short-sightedness). Laser refractive surgery is stillconsidered less invasive in comparison to ICL.

If you think you may need an ICL implant, or you have any other eye-related healthconcerns, you can receive Mr Almousa’s expert advice and treatment by visiting hisTop Doctors profile, where you can view his schedule and booking information.