With the growing popularity of laser vision correction, many patients overlook alternative vision correction procedures. While LASIK and other laser surgeries are a great option for many people, others may prefer a less invasive option. One of these options is the Visian ICL.
What is the Visian ICL?
The Visian ICL is an FDA-approved implantable lens for nearsighted patients who seek a vision correction alternative to LASIK or PRK. ICL stands for Implantable Collamer Lens. These are prescription lenses, similar to any contact lens you may wear daily, but permanently implanted in the eye. This allows the patient to see clearly without the aid of glasses or contacts.
The Visian ICL is one of the most popular phakic IOLs (Intraocular Lenses). Phakic IOLs are a category of implantable lenses that can be put in an eye that still has a natural lens. The Visian ICL and other phakic IOLs can be implanted in patients who haven’t had cataract surgery.
What is Collamer?
The ICL, as the name implies, is made from a material called collamer. Collamer is a unique material used exclusively by the company that supplies Visian.
It’s special for several reasons:
- Collamer is created from collagen, which is a material found in the human body. This helps the ICL more seamlessly integrate with your eye as it is significantly less likely to be perceived as foreign material in the body.
- Collamer is flexible — the soft material of the ICL makes it both easy to implant and comfortable for the patient.
- As a bonus, the collamer provides protection from the sun. UV rays are extremely harmful to the eye — the ICL can help shield your eye from UV damage while allowing you to see clearly.
How Is the ICL Implanted?
The ICL is implanted during a very simple, minimally invasive procedure.
This procedure will only take a few minutes and consists of a couple of easy steps:
- First, the doctor applies numbing eye drops before making a small incision in the eye.
- The ICL is then inserted through the incision and placed behind the iris. When inserted, the lens is folded up and automatically unfurls once in the right position.
- The incision does not need any sutures to close it as it is small enough to heal on its own. Your surgeon will prescribe eye drops to help clean the eyes and prevent infection as you recover.
What Makes a Good Visian ICL Candidate?
Like all surgeries, a candidate for Visian ICL does have to meet a few requirements.
You’re a good candidate for the procedure if you:
- Are 18-45 years old
- Are nearsighted with a prescription within -3.00 diopters to -20.00 diopters
- Have only had small prescription changes over the past year; no more than .5 diopters
If you don’t meet these requirements, you may still be a candidate for laser vision correction. Be sure to ask your doctor about what kind of procedure may be best for you.
Why Get Visian ICL Instead of Laser Surgery?
Visian ICL may be a better choice than laser surgery for certain patients. For example, patients with severe nearsightedness may not qualify for LASIK or PRK, as those procedures may not provide enough correction.
The Visian ICL, however, can correct much stronger prescriptions. That being said, Visian ICL is only for nearsighted patients. If you have farsightedness or astigmatism, Visian ICL isn’t right for you.
Some people who don’t qualify for LASIK because their cornea is too thin, or their pupils are too big may also be able to safely have the Visian ICL procedure. There are also certain benefits to Visian ICL even for patients that may otherwise qualify for LASIK or PRK.
What are the Benefits of Visian ICL?
There are a few main benefits of the Visian ICL for nearsighted patients who are trying to decide between the procedure and laser surgery:
- The Visian ICL procedure is reversible. Some people may find comfort in the fact that an ICL can be removed if needed
- The Visian ICL is technically safer than laser surgery. While LASIK and PRK are very low-risk procedures, Visian ICL is an even lower risk since it is so minimally invasive
- Unlike some laser surgeries, Visian ICL is not known to trigger Dry Eye Syndrome
There is a significantly reduced risk of needing a second procedure. While an ICL can be removed, only rarely does it need to be. Whereas LASIK and PRK can sometimes require a second procedure to fully correct a patient’s vision, those with an ICL don’t have to worry about that possibility.
Visian ICL, Chicago
Need more information about this innovative alternative to LASIK and PRK? Call us at (312) 955-0025 or schedule an appointment to discuss your options for Visian ICL surgery in Chicago!