Preparing for ICL Surgery

Preparing for ICL Surgery: A Comprehensive Guide

Key Takeaways

Key PointDetail
What is ICL Surgery?People with severe nearsightedness are not suitable for LASIK.
Ideal CandidatesCorrects myopia and astigmatism involves placing a lens between the iris and natural lens.
Pre-Surgical PreparationsIncludes YAG laser iridotomy, comprehensive eye exams, and refraining from wearing contact lenses.
Offers high-quality vision correction, quick recovery, and reversible options.94.5% of patients see 20/20 or better post-op.
Post-Surgical CareIncludes taking prescribed medications, avoiding eye rubbing, and follow-up appointments.
Benefits of ICL SurgeryThis may include mild pain, blurry vision, dry eyes, increased eye pressure, etc.
Potential Risks and Side EffectsMay include mild pain, blurry vision, dry eyes, increased eye pressure, etc.

Introduction to Implantable Contact Lens Surgery

Implantable Contact Lens (ICL) surgery, also known as Visian ICL surgery, is a revolutionary procedure for correcting vision problems like myopia (short-sightedness) and astigmatism. This surgery is especially beneficial for those who rely on glasses or contact lenses. ICL surgery boasts a high success rate, with over 94% of patients achieving 20/20 vision without needing glasses or contact lenses【source】.

ICL Surgery Vision Results

In clinical studies, 94.5% of patients could see 20/20 after ICL surgery. And 99% could see 20/25.

ICL results

Understanding ICL

ICL surgery involves placing a soft, biocompatible lens made of a unique Collamer material between the iris and the eye’s natural lens. This lens acts like a permanent contact lens, focusing light correctly onto the retina. Unlike intraocular lenses (IOLs) used in cataract surgery, ICLs are a type of phakic intraocular lens, meaning they are added without removing the eye’s existing lens【source】.

Who Can Benefit from ICL Surgery?

ICL is an excellent alternative for people with severe nearsightedness who are not suitable candidates for LASIK surgery. Not only does ICL offer a permanent solution for vision correction, but it is also reversible, meaning the lens can be removed if necessary【source】.


Preparing for Your ICL Surgery

Preparing for ICL surgery is crucial for its success. Here’s what to expect:

Before the Surgery

  1. YAG Laser Iridotomy: Performed about two weeks before surgery, this procedure creates tiny holes in the front chamber of your eyes to facilitate proper aqueous humour flow, preventing pressure build-up post-surgery.
  2. Comprehensive Eye Exam: Conducted a week before the procedure, this exam ensures your eyes are healthy and suitable for surgery. It includes pupil and corneal evaluation and endothelial cell count.
  3. Additional Preparations: If you wear contact lenses, you’ll be advised to stop wearing them for a period before surgery. Inform your doctor about any medications or medical conditions you have. Also, arrange for reliable transportation on the day of the surgery, as you won’t be able to drive immediately afterwards【source】.

Have a question about ICL Surgery? Get in touch today

Medications and Health Conditions

If you’re currently taking any medications or have underlying health conditions, it’s essential to discuss these with your surgeon. Some medications may interact with the surgery or impact your recovery process.

Type of medicationWhy Can I Not Take This?
ImmunosuppressantsIf you’re taking medications to suppress your immune system, your surgeon may recommend modifications to your dosages or schedules to prevent complications during the healing process.
CorticosteroidsCertain corticosteroid medications can impact the healing process and immune response. Your surgeon may provide guidance on when to discontinue or adjust these medications to promote proper healing.
AntibioticsDepending on the type of antibiotics you’re taking, they may affect the risk of infection after surgery. Your surgeon will provide specific instructions if any adjustments are needed.
Prescription Eye DropsIf you’re already using prescription eye drops for other eye conditions, these may need to be temporarily adjusted or discontinued during your ICL surgery and recovery period.

The Surgical Process

ICL surgery is an outpatient procedure, which means you can return home on the same day. The steps involved in the surgery include the application of dilating eye drops, the use of a topical anaesthetic, and the actual insertion of the ICL through a small corneal incision. The surgeon then closes the incision and applies the necessary medications for healing and comfort【source】.

The entire procedure usually takes at least 15 minutes for each eye, and you will be asked to rest in the office.

Assessment for vision correction eye surgery

After that, your vision should improve within a week or two of the surgery【28†Vision Center】. However, it’s important to attend regular follow-up visits with your ophthalmologist so they can monitor your eye health and—

Post-Operative Care and Recovery

After the ICL surgery, following your doctor’s instructions carefully is crucial to ensure a smooth recovery. Here’s a breakdown of what you should expect and do post-surgery:

Immediate Post-Surgery Care

  1. Medications: Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics and other ointments to alleviate pain and discomfort.
  2. Follow-Up Appointment: It’s essential to make a follow-up appointment a day after surgery to monitor your eyes’ condition closely.
  3. General Care Instructions: Avoid rubbing your eyes for 3 to 5 days post-surgery, take prescribed medication as directed, rest your eyes, and avoid strenuous activities like weightlifting or contact sports.

Recovery Timeline

Generally, patients notice improved vision within 1 to 3 days following the surgery. Full recovery is typically expected after 3 to 4 weeks. However, it’s essential to call your doctor if you experience severe eye pain or sudden vision changes, as these could be signs of complications.

Benefits of ICL Surgery

ICL surgery is renowned for its high-quality vision correction and quick recovery period. The surgery is stable and provides predictable results, making it a reliable choice for vision correction.

Additionally, being a reversible option, it offers flexibility for future adjustments. The procedure also preserves the corneal structure, as it doesn’t involve creating a corneal flap, which is beneficial for overall eye health【source】.

Have a question about ICL Surgery? Get in touch today

Understanding Risks and Side Effects

Like any surgical procedure, ICL surgery comes with its own set of potential risks and side effects. Some of the common side effects include mild pain, blurry vision, dry eyes, red or gritty eyes, double vision, halos, glares, increased eye pressure, light sensitivity, and the potential for early cataracts. It’s essential to discuss these risks with your healthcare provider to make an informed decision.

Risks and How to Mitigate Them

To minimize the risks associated with ICL surgery, it’s crucial to:

  1. Choose a qualified and experienced surgeon. You can learn more about selecting the right surgeon on our website.
  2. Follow all pre- and post-operative care instructions meticulously.
  3. Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments for monitoring and early detection of any complications.
  4. Immediately report any unusual symptoms or changes in your vision to your doctor.

Complementary Procedures

For those considering ICL surgery, exploring other vision correction options might also be worthwhile. For instance, LASIK laser eye surgery is a popular alternative that offers different benefits.

Understanding the range of available treatments can help you make the best choice for your vision needs. Visit our treatments page for more information on various eye surgeries and procedures.

Comparing ICL Surgery with Other Vision Correction Procedures

When considering vision correction surgery, it’s important to understand how ICL compares to other procedures like LASIK and PRK. Each method has its unique advantages and suitability based on individual eye conditions and needs.


  • ICL Surgery: Ideal for patients with severe myopia and thin corneas, where LASIK might not be suitable. ICL is reversible and doesn’t involve reshaping the cornea.
  • LASIK Surgery: Suitable for a broader range of vision problems, including myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. It involves reshaping the cornea and offers a quick recovery time. Learn more about LASIK surgery here.




High and extreme prescriptions

Prescription range

Up to -18D (dioptres)

Up to -10D (dioptres)

Thin corneas

Maintains ability to read

Fast recovery


Operating theatre

Infection rate

1 in 3,000

1 in 21,000


  • PRK Surgery: Another alternative for patients who are not ideal candidates for LASIK. PRK reshapes the cornea’s surface without creating a flap. It’s a good option for patients with thin corneas. For more details, visit our PRK laser eye surgery page.
  • ICL Surgery: Offers an internal solution by inserting a lens inside the eye, making it a preferable option for those with very high prescriptions or structural eye issues.


Refractive lens exchange (RLE) is a potential option for patients either not suitable for LASIK, or typically aged 50+ who have lens changes inside the eye.

In RLE, the eye’s natural lens is removed and replaced with an intraocular lens (IOL). This removes any focusing ability, so reading must be restored using special premium multifocal IOLs.

ICL is additive, so doesn’t remove your natural ability to focus up close.




High and extreme prescriptions

Age range *



Preserves the ability to read naturally

Prescription range

Up to -18D (dioptres)

Up to -25D (dioptres)

Thin corneas

Maintains ability to read

Fast recovery


Operating theatre

Infection rate

1 in 3,000

1 in 3,000

Understanding Your Options

The choice between ICL, LASIK, and PRK depends on various factors such as your prescription, corneal thickness, eye structure, lifestyle, and personal preferences. Consulting with an experienced eye surgeon is the best way to determine which procedure is most suitable for you.

Long-Term Care and Lifestyle Adjustments After ICL Surgery

After undergoing ICL surgery, it’s essential to consider long-term eye care and lifestyle adjustments to maintain optimal vision health.

Eye Care Post-ICL Surgery

  1. Regular Eye Exams: Schedule regular check-ups with your eye doctor to ensure the health and stability of your vision.
  2. UV Protection: Wear sunglasses with UV protection to safeguard your eyes from harmful sun rays.
  3. Healthy Lifestyle: Maintain a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet rich in eye-friendly nutrients and regular exercise.

Lifestyle Adjustments

  1. Sports and Activities: You can resume most activities after full recovery. However, always use protective eyewear when engaging in contact sports or activities with a risk of eye injury.
  2. Workplace Adjustments: If your job involves extensive screen time, follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds to reduce eye strain.

Maintaining Vision Health

Taking care of your vision goes beyond the immediate post-operative period. Incorporating these habits into your daily routine can help preserve your vision quality. For more tips on maintaining eye health, explore our blog.


Implantable Contact Lens surgery significantly advances vision correction, offering an effective solution for those with specific eye conditions. It provides high-quality vision correction, quick recovery, and reversible options, making it an attractive alternative for many.

Understanding the preparation, procedure, recovery, and long-term care is crucial for anyone considering this surgery.

For more detailed information on ICL surgery and other vision correction procedures, visit our implantable contact lens page. And for those considering a broader range of vision correction options, including refractive lens exchange, our preparing for refractive lens exchange (RLE) surgery page offers valuable insights.

FAQs About ICL Surgery

  1. Who is an ideal candidate for ICL surgery?
    • Typically, it’s suitable for patients with moderate to severe myopia, thin corneas, or those who are not candidates for LASIK or PRK.
  2. Is ICL surgery painful?
    • The procedure is generally not painful due to the use of anaesthetic drops. Some discomfort might be experienced post-surgery, which is usually manageable with prescribed medications.
  3. How long does the ICL surgery take?
    • The surgery itself is relatively quick, typically lasting about 20-30 minutes for both eyes.
  4. What is the recovery time for ICL surgery?
    • Most patients notice an improvement in vision within a few days, with full recovery taking about 3-4 weeks.
  5. Are the results of ICL surgery permanent?
    • Yes, the results are permanent, although the procedure is reversible if needed.
  6. Can ICL surgery correct astigmatism?
    • Yes, ICL can correct astigmatism along with myopia.

You can also contact me with any questions. My team and I are here to help you make an informed decision about your vision care. I look forward to hearing from you!

Have a question about ICL Surgery? Get in touch today

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