Implantable contact lenses (ICL) may be an option for people with prescriptions that fall outside the accepted range for laser refractive procedures, have extreme nearsightedness or farsightedness, or who may otherwise not be an ideal candidate for vision correction procedures. Similar to external contact lenses, ICLs are able to correct visual problems from inside the eye without removing the eye’s natural lens.
How Implantable Contact Lenses Work
The Implantable contact lens corrects refractive errors by focusing light properly on the retina, the sensory tissue on the back of the eye. Because people with refractive errors have difficulty focusing light and images properly, objects come to focus in front of or behind the retina instead of on it, making the images appear blurred or out of focus. Implantable contact lenses correct this by bending and focusing light directly on the retina, reducing the need for contacts and glasses.
Implantable Contact Lens Surgery
As with any vision correction procedure, a comprehensive examination with your eye care professional is necessary to determine if you are a candidate. Patients may be asked to discontinue wearing contacts several weeks before the examination so an accurate reading of the prescription can be taken. Others may need to schedule a procedure prior to surgery in order to help manage the pressure within the eye after the IOL has been implanted.
Implantable contact lens surgery is an outpatient procedure and is relatively brief. Special drops are placed in the eye to reduce pupil size, and a local anesthetic is used to numb the procedure area. A tiny incision is made, and the lens is slipped between the iris (colored part of the eye) and the natural lens. The procedure offers permanent vision correction. However, if the patient develops a problem, the ICL can be safely removed.
After the Procedure
Visual recovery with implantable contact lenses is rapid, with noticeable improvement within a day or two. Because the incision used to insert the IOL is so small, sutures are usually not required, and post-operative discomfort is minimal. Following surgery, you will need to visit your doctor for several months and may need to use eye drops. Recovery time varies by patient.
At NVISION Laser Eye Centers, risks of the surgery are discussed with the patient prior to the procedure. Proper pre-operative screening and testing ensures that you are considered a candidate only when it is medically advisable. As well, diligent post-operative care helps to identify and address potential healing complications.