Not being able to see clearly without the use of visual aids like prescription lenses can be extremely frustrating. Thankfully, there are now more treatment options than ever that can help to restore your vision. One of these is ICL surgery.
Implantable Collamer/Contact Lens or ICL surgery is a common procedure that is considered an alternative to LASIK laser vision correction. During this procedure, your eye doctor will implant a prescription contact lens directly into your eye where it will remain permanently to correct your vision.
ICLs are soft, flexible contact lenses that sit between the natural lens of the eye and the iris. They work in the same way as regular contact lenses, but you never have to think about them, take them out, put them in, or clean/maintain them. Essentially, you get all the same great benefits of contact lenses without any of the hassle.
As with any surgery, knowing what to expect can be a big help, both in alleviating any nerves and concerns and in ensuring that you know what you should and shouldn’t be doing to ensure that your procedure is as straightforward and complication-free as possible. Here’s how to prepare before and after ICL surgery.
Before you can have ICL surgery, you’ll first need to have a consultation appointment with your eye doctor to determine that you are a suitable candidate for this procedure. This will involve an assessment of your vision, as well as the health and condition of your eyes to ensure that there are minimal risks associated with the surgery. Once your eye doctor confirms that you are a suitable candidate, a date for your procedure will be scheduled.
If you are currently taking any medications, your eye doctor will need to know. This is because there are some medications that you will need to stop taking ahead of your procedure to reduce the risk of complications. Examples include anticoagulants and aspirin. Your eye doctor will be able to advise you on which medications you’ll need to pause.
On the day of your ICL surgery, you should take a shower and wash your hair as you’ll be advised to keep water out of your eyes for several days following the procedure. Make sure that you aren’t wearing any false eyelashes or any makeup or fragrance as these can cause irritation that affects surgery. You should make sure you arrive in plenty of time for your appointment and have a friend/family member to accompany you as you’ll need support directly afterward.
Where possible, both eyes will be treated on the same day, although in some cases patients are treated over two separate appointments. Anesthetic and sedation are used to keep you comfortable while a tiny keyhole incision is made into the edge of the cornea. The ICL is folded and inserted through this incision, and then a special tool is used to unfold it and make sure that it is correctly positioned behind the iris.
Straight after your surgery, your vision will be blurred and you may experience some mild discomfort, but this should be easily relieved using over-the-counter pain medications. You’ll be prescribed some eye drops to help clear the visual mistiness that normally occurs, and these should be taken exactly as directed. You’ll also have an eye shield placed over them to protect them. You should ideally leave this on overnight and try and rest and sleep as much as possible within the first 24 hours following your ICL procedure. Your eye doctor will also give you specific information about how to keep your eyes clean and protected from the sun.
Recovery time after ICL surgery is short, and most patients can return to work within just a few days. However, if you have any concerns during this time, you shouldn’t hesitate to speak to your surgeon.
For more information on ICL surgery, visit Coastal Vision Medical Group at our offices in Orange, Irvine, Long Beach, and Chino, California. You can call (888) 501-4496 today to schedule an appointment.