Posted on December 2, 2017
Implantable Collamer Lens surgery has proven to be technological revolution for patients who were hitherto considered poor candidates for refractive surgeries. The ICL surgery provides a safe and effective surgical correction of powers as high as -20 DS and cylindrical correction of 6D.
What to Expect: Preoperative Evaluation
The preoperative evaluation for ICL surgery includes a complete and thorough eye examination including a dilated check of your retina, and measuring the appropriate size of your eye using a specialised ultrasound machine, as well as callipers. An especially trained team of doctors and technicians including optometrists is responsible for this, and will require up to two hours of your time.
Your doctor will then key in the readings in to an online calculator to determine the exact specifications of size and power for your eyes, each lens is especially customised to the specific needs for your eye only. Because the inventory of stock for the infinite number of possibilities is impossible, sometimes there is a long time lag between your tests and scheduling of surgeries since the ICL may need special manufacturing for your eyes only.
What to Expect: During the ICL Surgery
During the ICL surgery, the surgeon creates tiny incisions close to the cornea to allow insertion of the extremely thin and flexible ICL into the eye. As the ICL is made of a soft, biocompatible collamer which blocks UV radiation, it can be folded up onto itself into a device so small that it can be injected into the eye in less than a minute, through a tiny self-sealing opening in the eye. Once injected, the ICL unfolds into position in the liquid between the iris and natural lens. The ICL is then positioned between the iris and natural lens of the eye. The ICL then unfolds, and the surgeon tucks the edges of the lens behind the iris, making it invisible to both patient and observer.
The lens may need additional positioning and rotation into its precisely determined position in case of Toric ICL for correction of astigmatism in addition to spherical refractive error. Medication to constrict the pupil called pilocarpine is then instilled to ensure proper position of the ICL just behind the iris. Antibiotics are also instilled to prevent any possibility of infections.
The whole procedure usually takes 15 to 30 minutes, depending on whether the doctor has decided to operate one eye each time, or will be operating on both eyes sequentially on the same day.
What to Expect: After the ICL surgery
One hour later the doctor will check your vision and pressure, and also check your eyes for any possible problems and positioning of the lens. You are then allowed to go home. Your vision in this immediate post operative period is usually blurred, so you are advised to not drive home. You will be advised eye-drops to use at home which will help with recovery of vision and healing.
You will be asked to see the doctor again the following day for a post operative evaluation. Patients who choose the ICL surgery typically see amazing visual results within twenty four hours after surgery. The doctor will check your eyes, vision and pressure again at this point, and advice you on how to use your prescribed eye-drops. The prescribed eye-drops are usually tapered off after a week or so, and not stopped suddenly.
Some doctors will ask to see you again at the end of one week of surgery. Thereafter, you will be seen at the end of one month of surgery, and then annually as is routine for all patients. During this time, even though little to no recovery time is required following ICL implantation surgery, doctors recommend limiting your activity, swimming and heavy exercise for some time. You may also be told to avoid splashing water in the eye and cautioned against rubbing them vigorously for this duration.
The day following your LASIK or ICL surgery you come back for a post-operative exam. At this appointment, our doctors examine your eyes and test your vision refraction.
It is normal to feel mild pain or grittiness in the eyes after the procedure. This discomfort is not severe and is often akin to a burning sensation. Your vision may be blurred on the day of surgery, but you should be able to see much more clearly by the second day. Doctors usually recommend that you take two to three days off to help with full recovery before you return to your usual routine, except without glasses.