What is Visian Icl?

and is it an alternative to Lasik?

Doctor Answers 10

Visian and LASIK

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Visian ICL is a lens placed inside the eye to improve vision and is an alternative to LASIK surgery.  Visian is generally recommended over LASIK in cases with high myopia and/or thin corneas.  A qualified eye surgeon who is experienced with both procedures is the best qualified person to evaluate which procedure would be more highly recommended for your particular case. 

In my experience, patients who had LASIK in one eye and Visian in the other were generally more impressed with the vision in the eye that underwent the Visan ICL procedure.  At the same time, Visian is an intraocular procedure and can therefore be considered higher risk.

San Francisco Ophthalmologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Visian ICL

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The ICL othewise known as implantable collamer lens is an alternative to LASIK and other laser vision correction procedures. It is used for individuals whose prescriptions are too large for LASIK or their cornea's are too thin.  This implant is placed inside the eye just in front of the natural lens and acts to focus light on the retina.  There is less dryness than LASIK and the cornea is not thinned so the quality of vision especially in high prescriptions may be better that laser vision correction.

Sandy Feldman, MD
San Diego Ophthalmologist

ICL refractive surgery

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

ICL is an option for people with nearsightedness between -3 and -20 with 2.5 diopters of astigmatism or less. Because ICL can treat high levels of nearsightedness, it is often times an option for patients who cannot have LASIK or PRK due to thin corneas. Corneal thickness is not an issue in ICL implantation. The pros ans cons of each type of refractive surgery should be discussed in detail with your surgeon before you decide which is best for you. There is no one procedure that is better than others for everyone, there are only best fits for individual patients depending on their desires and physical characteristics.

Ilan Cohen, MD
New York Ophthalmologist

Visian ICL is a permanently implanted lens for vision correction

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The Visian ICL (implantable Collamer Lens) is a lens that is permanently implanted in the eye behind the iris and in front of the natural lens.  It has been approved by the FDA for correcting vision in patients with moderate to severe myopia (nearsightedness).  Visian is an alternative to LASIK for individuals who are candidates for LASIK, but wish to have a reversible procedure or for those who are not LASIK candidates due to thin or irregular corneas.

Christopher Coad, MD
New York Ophthalmologist

Phakic Intraocular Lenses

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The Visian ICL , a Phakic IntraOcular Lenses is an alternative to Laser Eye Surgery, and is similar to the IntraOcular Lenses (IOLs) in Cataract Surgery, but do not permanently alter the structure of the eye. No corneal tissue is removed as in LASIK and other laser eye surgery procedures. A Phakic IOL resembles a traditional contact lens and is surgically placed between the iris and the eye's natural lens. Unlike the IntraOcular Lenses used in Cataract Surgery, Phakic IOLs do not replace the eye’s natural lens, but work with it to correct such common vision errors as myopia (nearsightedness). Though Phakic IOLs are intended to be permanent implants, they can be removed if complications arise or if the patient’s vision changes.


Cary M. Silverman, MD
West Orange Ophthalmologist

What is a Visian ICL

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

A Visian ICL is a type of Intraocular Lens that is inserted into the anterior chamber(front) of the eye. It is considered a little more invasive than LASIK, because we have to make an incision in the eye and actually enter the eye, whereas LASIK is a surface procedure. There are several of these ICL's on the market and they are predominately reserved for highly nearsighted patients who are not good candidates for LASIK. When they are necessary and the surgery is performed well, the results are outstanding.

Anthony J. Kameen, MD
Baltimore Ophthalmologist

Visian ICL

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

This STAAR Visian Implantable Contact Lens™ (ICL) is a type of phakic intraocular lens (meaning it's added to your eye without removing your natural lens) used to treat moderate to severe nearsightedness. The lens is made of “collamer,” a unique material that contains a small amount of collagen, which provides excellent biocompatibility and superior optical capability.

Patients who are suited for this lens usually have a high refractive correction (very nearsighted), thin corneas, or a preference for non-laser vision correction (like LASIK). Some patients prefer the Visian lens to LASIK because it is rereversible. In contrast to the LASIK procedure where tissue is permanently removed, the STAAR® lens implant can be removed, if needed. In addition some studies have shown that at high levels of correction (-8.0D and above), there may be fewer higher-order aberrations after the lens implantation when compared to LASIK, which may translate in clearer vision.

Thomas E. Clinch, MD
Washington DC Ophthalmologist

ICL is another way to see

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The ICL is an implantable lens which is essentially a contact lens placed within the eye. It is made of a special material called Collamer (The C in ICL) which is very well tolerated by the eye. Since it can be ordered in specific prescriptions, it can provide a very accurate correction of vision. It also has the benefit of being removable and thus is reversible in a way that modifying the cornea with LASIK is not.

On the downside, it is an intraocular procedure, requiring the doctor to enter the eyes internal structures, thus making potential complication risks although rare, more serious. The most dreaded risk is that of an infection within the eye and thus this needs to be done in a much more sterile environment than that of LASIK which also should be performed in a sterile fashion.

Another limitation of the ICL is that it is not yet approved for the treatment for astigmatism and can only correct part of the prescription for many people. That being said it is a valuable adjuunct and is most useful in higher corrections and in those people with thin or abnormal corneas.

Jon Dishler, MD, FACS
Greenwood Village Ophthalmologist

The Visian ICL

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The Implantable Collamer Lens (erroneously but commonly called the Implantable Contact Lens) is a soft, foldable lens implant that can be used to treat nearsightedness. It is an alternative to LASIK. The range of myopia correctable with the ICL is from -3.00D to -20.00D.

The lens implant is placed inside the eye, in the space behind the iris (the colored part of the eye) and in front of the natural lens. It is meant to stay in the eye permanently, but can be removed if necessary. Patients don't feel it in their eyes, and there is no care or maintenance required.

The ICL is best suited for patients with extreme nearsightedness, patients with corneas too thin to safely perform laser vision correction, and patients with unusually shaped corneas, where the risk of LASIK and PRK are deemed to be higher than normal.

In order to "qualify" for the ICL, patients must be in the proper range of correction, have healthy eyes, and the dimensions of the interior of the eye must be adequate to "fit" the lens.

Versions of the ICL for astigmatism and farsightedness (hyperopia) are currently undergoing FDA study.

Gary Kawesch, MD (retired)
San Jose Ophthalmologist

ICL - Implantable Collamer Lens, an alternative to LASIK

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The Visian ICL™ (Implantable CollamerLens) is a phakic intraocular lens (IOL) used in refractive surgery for corneas that are not ideal candidates for LASIK. The Visian ICL™ does not replace the eye’s natural lens as the IOL’s used during cataract surgery do. Instead, the ICL™ is placed between the iris and the natural lens during a 10-minute procedure similar to no-stich cataract surgery.

The effectiveness and safety of the Visian ICL™ implantation procedure has been proven with thousands performed worldwide. Cataract and corneal changes occur in a small fraction of cases. Unlike corneal refractive surgery, implantation of the Visian ICL™ does not permanently change the eye’s structure. This is because the phakic IOL is placed in the posterior chamber of the eye where it works with the natural lens to correct vision.

Unlike in refractive lens exchange, a young patient’s eye with the ICL can focus and does not become dependent on glasses. ICLs take refractive surgery beyond the limits of LASIK.

Shahin Shahinfar, MD
Columbus Ophthalmologist

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.