The Implantable Contact Lens (ICL) or Visian lens is also frequently referred to as a phakic IOL. “Phakic” means that the natural lens of the eye is not removed, and “IOL” meaning intraocular lens, or a lens inside the eye. The ICL is considered an alternative to such procedures as LASIK and PRK or Refractive Lens Exchange. The best candidate for the ICL are between the ages of 21 and 45, with moderate to severe nearsightedness.
The ICL is a small, injectable lens that is inserted through a tiny, 3mm incision that does not usually require sutures. The procedure is performed on one eye at a time and is a five-minute procedure.
The ICL provides predictable outcomes and excellent quality of vision. If there are major changes in one’s vision, the ICL can easily be removed and replaced. It is designed to remain in place within the eye without maintenance. Because the lens is positioned behind the iris, neither you nor an observer will be able to see it. The lens material is a collagen co-polymer that is very biocompatible (doesn’t cause a reaction inside your eye) and stable. It also contains an ultraviolet light filter to help protect the eye and reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
STAAR Visian ICL
Q. How do I know if I am a good candidate for the Visian ICL?
A. Good candidates for this procedure are between 21 and 45 years of age with a moderate to severe nearsightedness. It is best if the candidate has not had any previous ophthalmic surgeries and does not have a history of ophthalmic disease such as glaucoma, iritis, or diabetic retinopathy.
Q. Why would I want the ICL?
A. The Visian ICL™ is generally used to correct a wide range of myopia without the removal of corneal tissue. The ICL is a small, foldable, injectable lens that is inserted through a tiny, 3 mm incision that does not require sutures. The ICL provides predictable refractive outcomes and excellent quality of vision due to its placement inside the eye, as well as its optical performance. The lens is made of a superior lens material called Collamer, which provides unparalleled biocompatibility.
Q. What if my vision changes?
A. This is one of the strongest points of the Visian ICL. If there are any changes in ones vision for the worse, the Visian ICL™ can be removed and/or replaced. Most other eye care procedures can be done at any time. The Visian ICL offers something that neither LASIK nor PRK can, which is reversibility. If problems occur, they can be remedied with little difficulty. With the ICL, one can still wear glasses or contact lenses if necessary. The ICL does not help presbyopia, or the need for reading glasses due to age. The ICL is available for different treatment ranges, depending on what country you live in.
Q. Will my ICL dry out or get dirty like a contact lens?
A. No, this will never happen. The Visian ICL™ is designed to remain in place within the eye, without maintenance. An annual examination done by your ophthalmologist is recommended to make sure that everything is fine, but generally we see little change in the ICL’s placement and performance over time.
Q. Will other people see my ICL?
A. No. Because the lens is positioned behind the iris, neither you, nor an observer will be able to identify the lens in place. The cosmetic appearance of the Visian ICL™ is perfect, and there is no way for a non-professional to notice that a visual correction is in place.
Q. What are ICLs made of?
A. You can think of it like plastic, although it’s a very special plastic. The material is called collamer, and it’s a collagen co-polymer that contains a small amount of purified collagen. It is biocompatible (i.e. it will not cause a reaction inside the eye) and stable. It also contains an ultraviolet light filter, which is proprietary to STAAR Surgical.
Q. What will my ICL procedure be like?
A. The ICL surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, which means that the patient has surgery and leaves the same day. Please note that someone will have to drive the patient to and from surgery. A light, topical or local anesthetic is administered, and there is very little discomfort and normally no pain associated with the procedure. Some drops or perhaps oral medication may be prescribed and a visit is usually scheduled the day after surgery.
Q. How long does the ICL stay in my eye?
A. ICLs are intended to remain in place without maintenance. If it becomes necessary, for any reason, they can be easily removed by a trained ophthalmic surgeon.
Q. Can my ICL be felt once they are in place?
A. The Visian ICL™ is not typically noticeable after it is implanted. It does not attach to any structures within the eye and does not move around after it is placed.
Q. Am I a candidate for the U.S. clinical trial?
A. If you are between the ages of 21 and 45, you may be a candidate for the U.S. clinical trial. The trial for farsightedness (hyperopia) is for prescriptions between +3.0 to +20.0. The Toric ICL™ trial is for prescriptions between –3.0 to –20.0 of myopia with +1.0 to +4.0 diopters of astigmatism. Contact STAAR for more information on enrollment in U.S. clinical trials.