Implantable Contact Lenses (ICL) FAQs

Below are AVC’s implantable contact lenses FAQs. Please click on the questions below to reveal the facts and answers:

ICL is the treatment of choice for those patients between the ages of 21 to 40 who are not ideal candidates for laser eye surgery due to high prescriptions, thin corneas, dry eye syndrome and others. It can also be used to help patients suffering from Keratoconus who have had cross-linking treatment or where the disease has stabilised.

ICL treatments have been performed for over 20 years and more than 700,000 ICL procedures have been conducted successfully worldwide. Prior to being available, ICL lenses were subjected to extensive research and development. They have been approved in Europe since 1997 and FDA approved in the US since 2005.

The US military regularly implant Visian ICL for their servicemen/women and have been monitoring the results. Their study concluded that Visian ICL provides “excellent visual and refractive results”. The study showed excellent vision quality and stability of the lens inside the eye, even in combat. The treatment has shown to be an effective, safe, predictable and stable way to correct high and low levels of short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism.

As with any procedure, safety is not only dictated by the technology used but also by the surgeon performing the treatment. AVC surgeons are internationally-renowned surgeons and recognised experts in the field of lens treatments and teach other surgeons how to perform this procedure.

Implantable Contact Lenses are suitable for a wide range of prescriptions from -20D to +8 with astigmatism up to 6D. AVC has made history by being the first clinic in the UK to treat an astigmatic hyperope (a long sighted individual with a high prescription and a significant astigmatism).

ICL is the standardised treatment for higher prescriptions and is recommended by the American Association of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) and the European Association of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ESCRS).

The ICL is made of collamer, a highly biocompatible advanced lens material which contains a small amount of purified collagen. Collamer does not cause a reaction inside the eye and contains an ultraviolet blocker that protects the eye.

There is no chance of rejection as the ICL is made of a collamer material that is completely bio-compatible with the body’s natural chemistry.

The ICL implant is designed to remain inside the eye indefinitely. It can be thought of as a permanent contact lens that is maintenance free. However, the lens can be removed at any time in the future should it be necessary.

Implantable Contact Lenses (ICL) are often referred to as a phakic IOLs meaning a lens is implanted into an eye with the natural lens in place. An Intra-Ocular Lens (IOL) replaces the natural crystalline lens and is used to treat patients aged 45+ that require reading glasses (presbyopia) or have cataracts.

AVC has been offering ICL treatments since 2006 and we the leading providers of ICL treatment in the UK. Our world-renowned expert surgical team have been performing this procedure for more than 15 years and are trainers in this field.

Visian ICL lenses are much smaller than a contact lens and they are implanted behind the iris (the coloured part of the eye) and they are not visible to those looking at you. Given the location of the implanted lens, it will remain permanently in place and cannot be felt.

No, you cannot feel the lens.

The advantage of the Visian ICL is that it can permanently correct your vision; yet no natural tissue is removed in any way during the procedure. If for the unlikely reason you need or wish to remove your Visian ICLs in the future, it can be done.

After attending the consultation tailor made lenses are ordered from the manufacturer. Lenses sometimes can take up to 4 to 8 weeks to be manufactured and sent to our clinic.

Once the lenses have arrived the procedure will take approximately 30 minutes per eye and we will treat each eye on two consecutive days, meaning that the amount of time spent with one eye uncorrected is minimised, allowing for a faster recovery.

Anaesthetic drops are applied to numb the eye meaning that nothing is felt throughout the treatment. The drops wear off without any side effects soon after the procedure is finished.

Visual improvement is noticeable almost immediately after treatment and patients can see 95 -100 % better within two to three days following treatment.

Patients are required to attend regular after care appointments the first year after treatment; these are included in the cost of your treatment. There is no other maintenance required but we recommend having an eye examination every year at the AVC clinic or with a qualified person in the field.

ICL surgery does not prevent or slow down cataract formation. However, if a cataract operation is required, the ICL implants can be safely removed and normal cataract surgery can be performed.

Every ICL implant is customised to each individual’s prescription and the lens is tailor-made. The procedure requires more extensive pre-operative assessments, measurements and calculations. There is also a larger surgical team required for the procedure.

Laser surgery permanently modifies the cornea and, as ICL treatment does not affect the cornea, it is possible to have ICL after Laser treatment.