Implantable Collamer Lens (Visian ICL)

At SightLine, we have more ongoing experience with ICLs than any other center in Pittsburgh as we have been implanting ICLs with incredible success and patient satisfaction since soon after the time of their FDA approval in 2005.

What is the ICL?

The ICL is a synthetic (co-polymer) lens that is implanted within the eye, behind the iris and in front of the natural (crystalline) lens to correct or reduce the need for glasses or contacts.

Who is a candidate for the ICL?

To be a candidate you must be nearsighted (-3.0D to -20.0D) and between 21 and 45 years of age. You must also have a stable refraction (your glasses have not changed) over the last year.

ICL implantation is not for everyone. Some exclusions do exist and may be due to anatomical constraints and/or to specific eye health conditions, which can only be determined during a pre-operative evaluation with the doctors at SightLine.

Does the ICL also correct astigmatism?

Yes! In September of 2018, the Visian Toric ICL gained approval to treat or reduce astigmatism and at SightLine we now also implant Visian Toric ICLs.

What makes the ICL different from LASIK or PRK LASER to correct nearsightedness?

While the ICL does come with its own set of patient risks, which should be discussed with your eye doctor, it does not involve sculpting the corneal surface of the eye with a laser. This is why many patients who are not good candidates for LASIK or PRK laser may still be candidates for ICL implantation. Because cornea sculpting is not necessary, the ICL can be used to treat very high levels of nearsighted correction not amenable to laser treatment. It can also be used to treat moderate or lower levels of nearsightedness even if a patient has a thin or more irregular corneas.

What does the ICL implantation procedure entail?

ICL implantation will take place in a surgery center. The patient is relaxed with sedative medications to avoid any pain or anxiety and the procedure takes approximately 5-10 minutes on average. The patient’s eye is dilated and a small 3 mm self-sealing incision is placed along with two additional 1 mm incision. The eye is anesthetized and the lens is inserted and carefully positioned behind the iris.

What are the post-operative care instructions and expectations?

Several eye drops are used before and after the procedure and are routinely stopped by one month. Immediately after the procedure the patient will already be able to see without glasses or contacts, but can expect to have blurred vision. The patient will then return two hours after the procedure for an evaluation, where the vision, lens placement and pressure are checked. The patient will follow up for a day-one post-operative exam and, even at this first visit, near complete recovery of vision is often achieved, but some blurring or halos may still persist. There will then be a week-one exam, at which time a full recovery is expected and then a final visit at one month when drops are stopped. It is recommended that the patient is evaluated by an eye doctor at least on a yearly basis going forward to continue to evaluate eye health.