Frequently asked questions and answers on ICL (Implantable Collamer Lens)
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Implantable Collamer Lens or ICL is a new intraocular lens that can be implanted into the eye without removing the natural lens. This lens is an excellent choice for patients with short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism. This lens is made from a material called Collamer, a collagen co-polymer that contains a small amount of purified collagen. Since it is stable and biocompatible, the lens is highly safe, soft, flexible and moist. Due to the ICL is implanted through a microscopic incision that requires no stitches, it does not alter the natural shape or health of the cornea. The ICL is a new intraocular lens, therefore there are some frequently asked questions, find out the correct answers here to strengthen confidence before making decision.
Question: What are the differences between the ICL and LASIK?
Answer: The ICL or Implantable Collamer Lens is a new intraocular lens that can be implanted into the eye without removing the natural lens. This lens is made from a material called Collamer, a collagen co-polymer that contains a small amount of purified collagen. It is stable and biocompatible and it has been used for many years in the lenses implanted during eye surgery. The lens is small, foldable, soft, flexible and moist. Due to the ICL is implanted through a microscopic incision that requires no stitches, it does not alter the natural shape or health of the cornea. It can remain inside the eye indefinitely. If the vision changes significantly, the lens can be further removed. In addition, lens does not affect corneal curvature and damage cornea tissue. While LASIK surgery corrects vision by reshaping the clear front surface of the eye ( cornea) with an ultra-precise laser. LASIK or Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis is a surgery that corrects vision by changing the shape of the cornea permanently with an ultra-precise laser. The ICL is an alternative for some patients who are not suitable for LASIK because the cornea is not thick enough to be treated safely with laser eye surgery procedures.
Question: Which eye problems are suitable to be treated with the ICL?
Answer: The ICL can treat both short-sightedness (myopia) and astigmatism – a common vision condition that causes blurred vision due to irregularly shape of cornea or sometimes because of the curvature of the lens inside the eye. For short-sightedness, the ICL can be used in patients with -0.50 to -18.00 eyesight. For astigmatism, the lens can treat patients with -0.25 to -6.00 eyesight.
Question: Does the ICL induce dry eyes after surgery?
Answer: This lens is made from a material called Collamer, a collagen co-polymer that contains a small amount of purified collagen. It is stable and biocompatible and it has been used for many years in the lenses implanted during eye surgery. The lens is small, foldable, soft, flexible and moist. Since the lens does not affect cornea nerve fibers, therefore it does not cause dry eye.
Question: Can patients with mild short-sightedness be treated with the ICL?
Answer: Yes. The ICL can be used to treat patients with short-sightedness or myopia, ranging from -0.50 up to -18.00 eyesight. In addition, the lens can be used to treat astigmatism with -0.25 to -6.00 eyesight.
Question: Can colored contact lenses be worn after ICL surgery?
Answer: Yes. If the patients do not experience dry eyes, colored contact lenses can be worn regularly 1 month after ICL surgery.
Question: Does ICL surgery hurt?
Answer: Anesthetic eye drops are used to numb the eye before surgery begins. Patients will not experience pain during procedure. A small instrument will be placed between eyelids to prevent blinking. The customized lens is folded into a special injector. An ophthalmologist will make a small incision (sized 3-3.2 mm) in the cornea to insert the ICL. After the ICL is inserted inside the eye, the ICL will unfold and be positioned between iris and crystalline lens. The opening then seals on its own, usually without the need for stitches. Patient might feel irritated in the eyes. However, patients can communicate with the ophthalmologist while operating at all times.
Question: Can both eyes be treated with the ICL at the same time?
Answer: The ICL can be performed in each eye or both eyes at the same time. However, personal consultant with ophthalmologists is highly needed prior to operation.
Question: If one side of the eyes underwent LASIK while another side was treated by the ICL, does this affect eyesight? Is special care additionally required?
Answer: It is highly recommended to have ICL surgery for both eyes. However, if different procedures had applied to each eye, it does not cause any vision-related problems.
Question: During the night time, does ICL surgery cause halo light-related side effect that is strongly associated with LASIK?
Answer: Halos are a form of glare that temporarily affect vision after laser eye surgery. Patients undergoing LASIK procedures display an increase of halo phenomena around lights in night vision conditions. Nevertheless, the ICL features an optic diameter that is larger than pupil dilation at night time. So the light does not enter the eye through the pupil outside the edge of the ICL. Sharp focus results in clearer vision during both daytime and night time. Additionally, lens can correct refractive errors, a problem with focusing light accurately onto the retina due to the shape of the eye.
Question: Is ICL surgery recommended in the elderly?
Answer: In case of elderly patients, if patients do not develop cataract, ICL surgery might be recommended. However, this procedure is suitable for patients aged younger than 45. Patients aged over 45, cataract might be a concern and medical counseling with ophthalmologist is individually required.
Question: What are possible reasons to remove the ICL from the eyes? How is the ICL removed?
Answer: This lens is made from a material called Collamer, a collagen co-polymer that contains a small amount of purified collagen. It is small, foldable, soft, flexible and moist. Since it is stable and biocompatible therefore it does not cause any tissue damages. To remove the lens, it is similar to how to implant it at the beginning. Due to advanced age, cataract development is the most common reason to remove the lens. If cataract surgery is needed, the lens must be also removed. Other possible reason, although it is rare, is an increased intraocular pressure in the eyes. Intraocular pressure might temporarily increases after surgery. After medicines that lower pressure in the eyes are taken, if elevated intraocular pressure does not relieve after ICL surgery, the lens might need to be removed.
Question: What is the lifespan of the ICL?
Answer: Since the lens is biocompatible with tissues, so it can remain inside the eye indefinitely, unless vision changes.