Also known as the implantable contact lens, the Visian ICL® is a thin, prescription lens which is surgically inserted into the eye to correct a very wide range of myopia, or nearsightedness, and may be an option for patients who are outside the treatment range of LASIK. Patients with thin corneas or significant dry eye problems may also be more suited to the ICL than to LASIK. The ICL is a permanent implant, capable of remaining within the eye for a lifetime. It is removable and fully “reversible,” easily taken out of the eye if necessary, such as if a cataract develops later in life. It cannot be seen within the eye.
The ICL is implanted during a short surgical procedure, lasting approximately fifteen minutes. Drops are given to dilate the pupil. After being anesthetized, the eye and surrounding skin are cleansed with a sterile solution. A surgical drape is placed over the face, and an eyelid separator is gently placed to keep the eye open. Two small incisions are made at the edge of the cornea, and a thick liquid is instilled into the eye to protect the cornea, iris, and lens. The ICL, which is made of a very soft and pliable material, is gently folded and inserted through a corneal incision. The lens opens inside the eye and is carefully manipulated into its final location just behind the iris and in front of the lens. The thick liquid is then removed from the eye and the pupil is brought back to normal size with medication. The small corneal incisions heal without any sutures. Antibiotic drops are given and a patch or shield is placed over the eye. Visual recovery with the ICL is nearly immediate, with most patients seeing well within hours of the procedure.