Lasik Vs Implantable Contact Lenses

Recently heard about Implantable Contact Lenses (ICL) and how they are reversible. Is there anything that would make someone a better candidate for ICL over LASIK? Do many ODs perform this procedure?

Doctor Answers 3

ICL actually stands for Implantable Collamer Lens

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ICL actually stands for Implantable Collamer Lens.  Collamer refers to the material that is used to make this new type of intraocular lens.  It is a made-up word that combines collagen and the plastic, polymer.  The material is foldable, highly elastic, UV absorbing and has properties closest to the natural lens with no tissue removed during its insertion.  The lens itself can be removed.  This offers the unique advantage of this procedure being reversible!  The Visian ICL is better than LASIK for certain candidates such as high myopes (greater than –8.00), those with thin corneas, irregular shaped corneas, corneal scarring and for individuals who are afraid of laser vision correction.  ODs are optometrists and are not licensed to perform laser correction or Visian ICL intraocular surgery.  Only highly trained ophthalmic surgeons are licensed to perform these surgeries.

New York Ophthalmologist

LASIK vs Implantable Contact Lenses

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Both LASIK and ICL surgery are great, but there are different indications for each. LASIK is performed on the surface of the eye and the ICL is surgically implanted inside the eye, so LASIK is inherently less invasive. There is minimal risk with either procedure, however. In my opinion, infection is the biggest risk with either of these procedures, though I have never seen an infection with either one(in over 70,000 cases), but it would make sense that an infection inside the eye(after ICL) would be more serious than an infection outside the eye(after LASIK). The decision as to which of these procedures a patient should have is best made between the patient and the surgeon and the deciding point is typically the thickness of the cornea. If the patients corneal thickness is not sufficient to perform LASIK, then an ICL is considered. The visual outcomes with both procedures have been extraordinary.

Anthony J. Kameen, MD
Baltimore Ophthalmologist

Candidates for ICL over LASIK

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ICL's are approved for correcting myopia (near-sightedness).  High amounts of myopia and/or thin corneas are usually the primary reason for preferring ICLs over LASIK among refractive surgeons (MDs).  While ICLs are technically reversible, it would require another surgical procedure to remove them and it would be hard to argue that the eye is in the exact same condition following two intraocular surgeries as it was prior to the surgeries.  Perhaps the greatest concern for ICL implantation would be the development of cataracts due to proximity of the implant to the patient's natural lens.  ICL patients are among the most satisfied patients in a practice due to their high prescriptions prior to surgery and the generally high quality of vision following treatment.

Jay Bansal, MD
San Francisco Ophthalmologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.