Fortunately, modern ophthalmology has gone a long way from its humble beginnings. Nowadays, patients have a wide variety of options to regain their visual freedom and enjoy their life to the fullest. ICL or implantable contact lenses are only one of the medical solutions that are able to do that.
Implanted contacts are basically alternatives for contact lenses used for vision correction. Still, unlike standard contacts, implantable eye lenses are positioned in a specific way so they can remain in the eyes for a lot longer. External or traditional contact lenses are typically placed on the eye’s surface. By contrast, intraocular contact lenses are placed inside the eye (surgically, naturally) and implanted between the natural eye lens and the iris. And if there are any unwanted significant vision changes, the implantable contact lenses can be quickly removed.
These implantable eye lenses are usually made with a biocompatible material called Collamer, a combination of polymer and collagen, which won’t cause any unwanted discomfort or side effects.
To help you decide whether ICLs are for you, the expert team here at Diamond Vision has created a comprehensive list of the advantages and possible drawbacks.
About Permanent Contacts
As said before, ICLs are inserted between the eye’s natural lens and iris to correct vision problems from nearsightedness, astigmatism, and farsightedness. Once implanted, the contacts aren’t noticeable, and patients won’t be able to feel them.
For the most part, implanted contacts are an alternative for those who aren’t good LASIK candidates. Especially when they exhibit any of the following:
- Have dry eye syndrome or predisposition for it
- Abnormally shaped corneas
- Extreme myopia
More precisely, if their anterior chamber is shallow, patients may not be able to have ICL surgery safely because the lens may take up too much room in an already shallow anterior chamber.
The Pros of Implanted Contacts
All in all, ICL surgery is a safe and effective medical procedure that’s quick and able to correct vision problems in patients permanently. The surgery doesn’t take more than around 15 minutes and consists of placing the appropriate lenses between the eye’s natural lens and the iris without causing any damage to the tissue of the cornea. And because the procedure is swift and minimally invasive, patients can heal and get back to their everyday lives quickly, with some patients reporting returning to their regular routine the very next day. Apart from all this, other advantages include the following:
Exceptional Visual Quality: With intraocular contact lenses, the eyes are able to maintain the cornea’s natural shape. This means that vision quality will be excellent, especially in the case of high prescription. Also, this will mean that night vision may also improve more than with other procedures.
An Excellent Alternative for Those Patients who Arent Good LASIK Candidates: those patients with irregular or thin corneas, large pupils, very high prescriptions, or chronic dry eye syndrome might not be good candidates for other types of refractive surgery such as LASIK. For them, implanted contacts can be a terrific alternative.
Minimally Invasive Surgery: As mentioned already, ICL surgery takes no more than 15 minutes with minimal downtime following the procedure. Still, it’s highly recommended that patients refrain from driving for a day or two after the surgery. Additionally, the implantable contacts are small, so they can be folded up and inserted and put into place through a tiny incision without needing tissue removal.
No Dry Eyes: Since there’s no disruption to the corneal nerves during an ICL procedure, patients won’t be dealing with dry eyes and won’t need to use eye drops to maintain eye comfort.
Implanted Contacts are Biocompatible: The Collamer purified collagen and polymer material is flexible and soft. Because of its biocompatibility, the contacts won’t be rejected by the patient’s body as other foreign elements would. This means that the contacts won’t cause any reactions after implantation.
No Maintenance Required: Implantable eye lenses require no cleaning or disinfecting and don’t need to be removed daily. These are permanent contacts, which means they are intended to stay in the patient’s eye indefinitely. They are maintenance-free and still give you crystal-clear vision, just like regular contacts and glasses would.
They Are Planned for Long-Term Use: Ever since its FDA approval in 2005, and after 800,000 successful surgeries, permanent contacts have become a reliable and viable alternative for patients who aren’t good candidates for LASIK.
More specifically, treating myopia and astigmatism is approved at this time in the US; ICLs can be used to correct hyperopia internationally.
The Procedure is Completely Reversible: These contacts can be removed and replaced easily if necessary. That said, it’s evident that patients who opted for ICL generally have a bit more flexibility regarding future correction procedures when compared to LASIK patients.
The Possible Drawbacks of Intraocular Contact Lenses
Not for Everyone: Unfortunately, not every patient with vision problems may be a good candidate. First, ICL is primarily intended for the 21-45 age group. Those below 18 will usually see their prescription changing, while those above 45 will usually start to experience dysfunctionalities in their natural lenses. In their cases, RLE or refractive lens exchange is a more advisable procedure.
Cosmetic Procedure: Just as in the case of LASIK, ICL is categorized as a cosmetic procedure, and most insurance plans won’t cover it. Also, permanent contacts may be more expensive than LASIK per eye, mainly because we’re talking about custom-made implants that are made specifically for the patient. So, if you are thinking about ICL, it’s best to check with your insurance agency first, just to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Need for Annual Checkups: Even though implantable contact lenses are typically maintenance-free and intended to stay in the patient’s eye indefinitely, yearly aftercare appointments are highly recommended to ensure that the lenses are in the proper position and working as they should. Also, experts check for premature cataracts during these appointments, as they might require increased intraocular pressures and cataract surgery.
Is ICL a Good Option for You?
If you aren’t an ideal candidate for LASIK, this advanced vision correction method can help you improve your vision. You should first contact an experienced team of ophthalmologists who can assess your eye health, take a look at your medical history, and ask a series of questions to see which medical route would be the best to take to regain your visual freedom.
That said, you can reach out to the team here at Diamond Vision. Our expert and caring staff will help you discover the best corrective procedure that will restore your vision to its former glory, whether that’s ICL, LASIK, or other surgery types. Rest assured, we always strive to recommend the best possible treatment that caters to the needs and eye health of the patient the most, ensuring a successful outcome and fast recovery.
As such, schedule a free appointment with us to regain your sharp vision and live a life without glasses!
If you have more questions about LASIK procedures, get in touch with us.
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