What is Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL) surgery?
Implantable Collamer Lens surgery (ICL), as the name itself suggests, is a procedure, wherein a pair of lens is implanted into the eyes which do not require to be removed like normal contact lenses. These lenses are similar to contact lenses but are inserted within the eyes for long-term vision correction. These lenses, therefore, work with the natural lens of your eyes to improve your vision. During the procedure, the lens is inserted between your iris and your natural lens thru a tiny incision near the cornea.
How is ICL surgery performed?
ICl surgery consists of two separate procedures:
- The pre-procedure (iridotomy)
- The main procedure (ICL)
The Pre-procedure (Iridotomy)
- This procedure known as iridotomy is performed at least two weeks prior to the surgery.
- At the outset, the doctor applies anesthesia drops on the eyes to numb the surface of the eyes. An eyelid holder is used to keep your eyelids open and prevent you from blinking during the procedure.
- The surgeon then makes one or two small holes in the edge of the iris (the coloured part of the eye), using laser, to ensure that there will be no intraocular fluid build-up behind the implanted lenses after the surgery, which can lead to glaucoma.
- This procedure takes only a few seconds and prevents pressure build-up after the implant.
The Main ICL Procedure
- On the day of the surgery, the doctor applies anesthetic drops on your eye to numb it.
- Eyelids holders are used to keep your eyelids open and prevent you from blinking.
- The surgeon makes two tiny micro incisions at the base of the cornea.
- Through the incisions, he injects the lens into the eye. The lens is positioned behind the iris and in front of the natural lens.
- A gel-like substance is placed in your eye, to keep your eye safe while the lens is being positioned.
- After the positioning of the lens, the gel is removed from the eye.
- The surgeon then applies eyedrops on your eye to prevent inflammation and infection.
How long will it take to recover from an ICL surgery?
It takes a span of 2-4 weeks for each eye to stabilize after an ICL surgery.
You will notice your improved vision immediately after the surgery. Over the next couple of days as the eye heals you might find the vision becoming blurry suddenly. It gradually stabilizes, and after about a week you should be able to experience optimum vision.
You eye will completely heal over a period of two months.
Are There Any Pre-Surgery and Post-Surgery Guidelines for ICl surgery?
You need to avoid wearing contact lenses at least 7 weeks prior to the evaluation of your eyes for ICL surgery.
The first stage of ICL surgery iridotomy procedure may be done a week before. On the day of the procedure:
- you need to avoid applying any makeup, creams or lotions on your face and especially around your eyes
- avoid any form of makeup after the procedure
- if you are a diabetic it would be better for you to discuss with your doctor at length about your insulin intake and the effects of the surgery on your condition
- wear something comfortable on the day of the surgery. Avoid wearing pullovers, turtlenecks, or t-shirts and jewellery
After the main ICL surgery you need to:
- refrain from rubbing your eyes
- wear the protective shield on your eyes for a period of 2 weeks after the surgery, which will prevent you from rubbing your eyes accidentally whilst asleep
- avoid washing your face and avoid shampooing your hair or using face wash or soap on your face for at least three days
- religiously apply the eye drops given to you after the surgery and also take any medication that is prescribed by the doctor.
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