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FAQs on Implantable Collamer Lenses (ICL)

We commonly encounter a lot of questions asked by interested parties about Implantable Collamer Lenses (ICL). So we try to make it easy for you to do some research about the surgery and have compiled a FAQ list for you. 

What are my reasons for considering ICL Surgery?

There are many types of vision correction surgery. Your surgeon will need to understand why you wish to have corrective surgery. Is it for

    • Career reasons
    • Lifestyle reasons (sports, leisure activities, etc)
    • Cosmetic reasons
    • Reduce dependence on glasses and / or contact lenses

Based on the reasons given, your surgeon will be in better position to recommend you the appropriate type of vision correction surgery.

What are the things I should note before ICL Surgery?

You will be advised on the following before you come in for your pre-assessment for suitability and before the actual day of the surgery.

  • Do not wear soft contact lenses 7 days before your first pre-assessment and before surgery.
  • Do not wear hard contact lenses (RGPs) 14 days before your first pre assessment and before surgery.
  • Do not apply any eye makeup 2 days before surgery.
  • Do not apply any perfume on the day of surgery.
  • Do not apply any products on your eyes or face on the day of surgery.
  • Bring your sunglasses on the day of surgery as you may experience glare after surgery.
  • You do not need to fast before the surgery, there is no food restriction.
  • Do not drive on the day of surgery.
  • Expect to stay for about 2 hours, even though the procedure will only take about 30 minutes.

What to expect after ICL Surgery?

Some patients may encounter blurry vision for the first few weeks and may need glasses for night driving or reading until their vision stablises. Your eyes may feel sensitive and some might experience side effect such as haze due to ‘over-healing’. However, these risks can be much reduced with the prescription eyes drops and medication.

You should rest at home after surgery, observe good hygiene and adhere to the following.

For one week:

    • NO exercise which gets sweat in your eyes  (you can use a sweat
      band and exercise in a clean indoor gym environment)
    • NO water & soap in contact with your eyes
    • NO makeup and eye products
    • DO NOT rub or scratch your eyes
    • Wear sunglasses outdoor
    • Eye shields to be worn sleeping/nap time
    • Eye drops to be instilled regularly as instructed.
    It is advisable to avoid swimming and use UV Eye protection for a month.

Should I be worried about ICL Surgery complications?

With advancing technology, sophisticated surgical skill and optimal patient selection today, the safety and effectiveness of vision correction surgery continues to improve.

Laser eye surgery has successfully treated millions of patients and has high patient satisfaction rates. However, as with any surgery, it has potential complications. It is important for you to weigh the benefits and risks before choosing to go ahead with surgery.

Any side effects and/or complications of ICL Surgery?

ICL Surgery has a very good safety profile and a very high success rate. However, like any other surgery, there are potential side effects that one should be aware of and must be able to accept a small amount of risk. Proper testing before the procedure can identify patients who are at a higher risk of long-term complications and avoid post-operative issues.

There maybe some visual aberrations such as – glare, halos, starbursts, and dryness of the eyes. These are the more common side effects of ICL.  Most patients experience some of these symptoms immediately after the surgery but they improve as they recover, so most require no treatment.

Dry eyes

This is fairly common and almost all patients experience some degree of dry and gritty feeling during the recovering period.
This can be eased with the frequent use of lubricating eye drops.

Night Vision Problems

During the first few weeks or months, one might experience halos, glare and starbursts at night. This condition usually improves with time.

Under-correction, over-correction, or astigmatism

In some cases, corrective eyewear or contact lenses may still be required for the few activities which are more visually demanding. This can be due to the variance in the way each eye heals after surgery. An enhancement procedure may be done in such cases.

Other risks include increased eye pressure or early cataract formation which may be due to inaccurate sizing the ICL implant and so accurate pre-operative measurements are key to avoiding this. These issues may be resolved by medication removal of the implant, or by cataract removal, if needed.


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