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space healthcare coloured eyeExplaining Intraocular Lenses and the surgical process

You can also find information on our main IOL pages

What is Implantable Contact Lens surgery and how does it work?

ICL (you may find this referred to as either an Implantable Contact Lens or Implantable Collamer Lens) surgery is used to correct moderate to severe shortsightedness (myopia).

This is a non-laser refractive procedure where a contact lens-like material, also known as a phakic intraocular lens, is implanted inside the eye.

Placed near the iris, it acts like an internal contact lens, working with your eye’s natural lens to provide clear vision at a full range of distances.

Who can benefit from ICL procedures?

ICL is usually carried out on patients who are between 21 and 45-years-old and have a higher degree of myopia, with very little to no astigmatism.

Patients whose corneas are too thin for LASIK treatment may also find that an ICL could work for them.

Those 45 and older who are already presbyopic, or in the early stages of presbyopia (in need of a reading prescription), are usually more suitable for other vision correction procedures, such as Raindrop corneal inlay or RLE and the fitting of a multifocal intraocular lens.

Can you feel Intraocular Lenses in your eye?

Absolutely not, in the same way you cannot feel a dental filling for a cavity. The lens is situated inside your eye, not on the surface, so it’s not visible to the naked eye.

What are the risks with Intraocular Lens implant surgery?

Both ICL and RLE types of intraocular lenses are relatively new forms of vision correction treatment, so long term effects beyond 10 years are yet to be explored. At Space Healthcare, we ask people to understand the risks and assess them against the personal benefits for them, before they choose this surgery.

Complications are rare, but infections, retinal detachment, increased intraocular pressure, cataracts, loss of corneal endothelial cells and inflammation may be possible, although unlikely.

We will always thoroughly discuss any potential risks with you before recommending any form of intraocular lens treatment

What are the side effects of Intraocular Lens implant surgery?

Side effects are usually minimal.

Some people may experience temporary blurring for a few days, plus an increased sensitivity to light in the following weeks.

Glaring may occur, where halos appear around lights, making tasks in dark rooms or driving at night difficult.

Can Intraocular Lenses correct astigmatism?

Most intraocular lens implants do not directly correct astigmatism. In some cases, however, the process of surgery may reduce it.

If you have moderate to high degree of astigmatism, we may be able to correct your astigmatism with a laser correction procedure  following the implant of the lens.

Toric versions of IOLs may be also be suitable and these can correct your distance vision and astigmatism at the same time (like traditional toric contact lenses, these lenses are orientated to provide a varying prescription in different parts of the lens).

How long does the Intraocular Lens implant take?

Unlike most laser eye surgery centres, Space Healthcare possesses full theatre facilities. This means all procedures can be completed on-site, with no need for time-consuming travel to an external surgical facility.

When you have IOL treatment with Space Healthcare, you’ll need to plan to be with us for 2-3 hours from preparation to recovery, but the procedure itself takes around just 20 minutes. We advise you to ask a friend or relative to drive you home after the surgery, or at the very least, have a taxi take you home.

What will I feel during the Intraocular Lens implant procedure?

Patients experience virtually no discomfort during the surgical implant procedure. It’s performed using a local or topical anaesthesia (eye drop) to numb the eye.

There may be some mild discomfort for the first 24 hours following the procedure, but over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen is usually sufficient to control this.

Can both eyes be treated at the same time during my IOL procedure?

We treat one eye at a time, allowing the eye 1-2 weeks to stabilise before treating the second.

What precautions do I have to take after Intraocular Lens implant surgery?

A plastic shield is provided to protect your eye immediately after surgery, both during the day and while sleeping.

You should avoid touching the eye for any reason for the first month after surgery and avoiding getting sweat, dust, smoke, or cosmetics in your eyes. It is best to avoid swimming for four weeks, but showers do not usually present an issue.

Will I still have to wear glasses after having Intraocular Lenses implanted?

This depends on the severity of your shortsightedness.

In the USA,  phakic IOLs have been approved by the FDA to fully correct up to 15.00 Dioptres of shortsightedness. If you have high levels of myopia, the surgery will help reduce your refractive error. You may then have the option to use LASIK or LASEK laser eye surgery to correct the rest. Or you could continue to wear glasses, but with a reduced prescription.

If my vision is still not corrected, can I have an IOL re-treatment?

Some shortsightedness may remain after surgery, especially for those patients with severe degrees of myopia. An additional laser vision correction surgery may be performed to further improve your vision once your eyesight has stabilized for several months following the lens implant.

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