Implantable Contact Lenses

ICL (Implantable contact lens)

  • The Implantable Collamer Lens or commonly known as the ICL
  • Micro-thin implant for those not suitable for laser vision correction
  • Corrects shortsight, farsight and astigmatism
  • Reversible
  • 20 year track record
  • Useful in Keratoconus where laser vision correction is contraindicated
  • Over 500,000 implanted worldwide
  • Centre for Sight implants amongst the highest numbers of lenses in the UK

The Collamer ICL is an extra lens, similar to a contact lens. The difference is that the ICL is placed inside the eye, rather than on the surface of the eye. The lens is soft and tiny, much like the natural lens, but does not replace it. The ICL is specially shaped to correct Shortsight, Farsight, Astigmatism. The Toric ICL also corrects astigmatism often found in combination with short and farsight. The lens works in a similar way as glasses or contact lenses by changing the way light is focused on the retina.

Very high corrections up to -20.00D shortsight and +8.00D farsight along with 6.00D of Astigmatism have been corrected at Centre for Sight.

ICL implant behind the iris

As the ICL is tiny and soft, it can be folded up so small that it can be injected into the eye in seconds through a tiny self sealing opening. Once injected, the ICL unfolds into position in the liquid between the iris and natural lens. ICL corrects the eyesight usually without any further treatment being necessary (the ICL can also be removed or replaced, if required, in another simple procedure).

The ICL is made of a unique bio-material called Collamer. Collamer is accepted by the eyes as not being a 'foreign tissue'. This means that the body does not react or reject the ICL as a foreign body. Other special features of Collamer are its optical clarity and the flexibility and elasticity that allow it to be folded up and then to recover its correct shape in the liquid inside the eye.

ICLs are intended to remain in place without maintenance however patients are advised to be seen annually by their eye surgeon to ensure all remains well. If it becomes necessary, for any reason, ICLs can be easily removed by trained surgeons.

Advantages of ICL

The Collamer ICL is capable of correcting shortsight, farsightedness and astigmatism with extreme precision. Since the lens does not permanently alter any structures within the eye or on the cornea, it can easily be removed if necessary. Visual outcomes for higher levels of correction are better with ICL.

The ICL is invisible and undetectable! ICL treatment is completely unaffected if you have thin corneas, dry eyes, or large pupils, as it does not involve removing tissue from the cornea.

Am I Suitable? Book a Consultation

What is involved?

To determine suitability for the procedure a thorough consultation is required where a number of investigations are performed by a highly trained team of nurses and technicians and followed by an evaluation by a fellowship trained eye surgeon. Important measures include the health of the cornea measured by Specular microscopy and a measure space within the eye which will be evaluated using several machines.

STS Ultrasound Device

Centre for Sight is unique in having UK's only STS (sulcus to sulcus) ultrasound device that is used to scan the front of the eye to ensure accuracy of the implantable contact lens implant measure. This improves accuracy and safety.

Cross section image of the front of the eye

You will be provided further information about the procedure and shown video animations. Your surgeon will give you an explanation of what is involved and what to expect.

Planning your Procedure

Following consultation, you will be informed about your suitability and also be provided with an informed consent. If you are and wish to proceed, you will need to confirm a date and pay a deposit for the lenses which have to be ordered from Switzerland. If you have astigmatism or keratoconus, special bespoke lenses may have to be made for you and these can take about 6 weeks to manufacture (sometimes longer depending on the prescription).

The Procedure

One eye is treated at a time with the second eye a minimum of 2 days later. Dilating and anaesthetic drops are instilled in the eye, and a sedative is provided either orally or through your veins. The procedure involves folding the lens in a lens insertion device and implanting the curled up lens through a tiny incision. The lens is then positioned behind the iris and rotated into the correct position if an implant for astigmatism is used (Toric ICL). Medication to constrict the pupil is inserted as well as antibiotics to prevent infection. One hour later you will be examined to check your vision and pressure. The surgeon will also examine the eye to make sure all is well before you go home. You will be seen again the following day. To help the eye heal, steroid and antibiotic eye drops will need to be taken four times daily decreasing by one drop each week.

Long Term

As there is an implant in the eye in addition to the crystalline lens, we at Centre for Sight advise an annual examination to ensure the eyes remain well. This should be by Centre for Sight or an experienced eye surgeon trained in ICLs. Optometrists with special training by Centre for Sight and under our Shared Care Scheme can also be responsible for annual checks and will report back to Centre for Sight.

The ICL procedure is revolutionary and liberating for patients who have been turned down for vision correction elsewhere. Very high corrections up to -20.00D shortsight and +8.00D farsight along with 6.00D of Astigmatism have been corrected at Centre for Sight. Read some of our ICL Patient stories to find out the impact this type of surgery has had on their lives.

Find out about your suitability by answering a few short questions. This will help us guide you about the options available for you.*

*This will serve as a guide only. It does not replace a thorough consultation by an ophthalmic surgeon who will determine what options are best for you.

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