Implantable Contact Lenses

woman with her finger near her eye

If you dislike wearing glasses and you are not a suitable candidate for laser eye surgery, then implantable contact lenses (ICL’s) may offer the permanent vision correction that you require.

How do implantable contact lenses work?

Implantable contact lenses basically work in exactly the same way as standard/external contact lenses do. ICL’s alter the shape of the cornea in order to correct refractive errors such as near and far-sightedness, and astigmatism. However, unlike non-permanent contact lenses, ICL’s are surgically placed inside the eye rather than over the top of it.

Implantable contact lenses are also sometimes known as phakic intraocular lenses (IOL’s). The reason for this is because the two share a number of characteristics. IOL’s are seen in cataract surgery where they take the place of the affected natural lens after it has been removed. However, when used as implantable contact lenses they work in conjunction with the natural lens of the eye in order to correct your vision.

What happens during the procedure?

The procedure requires your surgeon to make a tiny incision in to the cornea to allow access to the natural lens underneath. The ICL is then inserted through the incision and placed either in front of or behind the iris which is the colored part of your eye, and in front of the natural lens. The incision into the cornea is able to heal naturally without stitches, and the entire process is extremely quick.

Will it hurt?

Your surgeon will give you anesthetic, usually in the form of eye drops, ahead of the procedure and as such you should experience very little, if any, discomfort.

Am I a suitable candidate for implantable contact lenses?

Candidacy for ICL is assessed on a case by case basis. However, there are certain parameters that your surgeon will use to decide if ICL is a suitable corrective procedure for you. These include but are not limited to:

- Age. Most ICL patients are between the ages of 21 and 45. This is because around the age of 40 many people begin to develop a condition known as presbyopia which is a progressive condition that interferes with near-vision.

- Severity of your refractive problems. ICL’s can correct certain degrees of myopia and if you are outside the recommended treatment range then they might not provide the right solution for your vision problems.

- The stability of your prescription. ICL’s are significantly less effective for people whose eyesight is changing regularly. Your surgeon will want your prescription to have been stable for at least 6-12 months.

- The health of your eyes. Your eyes need to be healthy in order to support the new lens. This means not having any diseases such as glaucoma or macular degeneration.

- The amount of space in your eyes anterior chamber. This is the part of your eye that is between your iris and cornea and needs to be big enough to fit the ICL into.

- Your general health. People with autoimmune conditions such as Lupus can experience flare-ups as a result of the surgery.

Your surgeon will be able to go through your ocular and medical history with you to advise whether ICL surgery is a suitable option for you.

How much does ICL surgery cost?

The exact cost of your implantable contact lens surgery will vary depending on the surgeon that you choose and the area in which you live. However, costs can range from $1,500 to $5,000 per eye. While looking at it as a total amount seems expensive, many people find that when they consider the amount of money spent on regular glasses or contact lenses over the years, the cost of ICL is very reasonable.

Many surgeons’ offer a range of payment options including low interest or zero percent financing. Make sure you shop around to find the best rates and payment plan for you before you commit to your surgery.