ICL Surgery: Things to Know About Permanent Eye Lens Surgery

icl eye lens surgery

With over 1 million ICLs successfully implanted worldwide, Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL) surgery has emerged as a widely embraced and proven solution for correcting various vision issues. This innovative permanent eye lens surgery procedure involves the permanent implantation of an artificial lens into the eye, offering effective treatment for conditions such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. In this article, we delve into the intricacies of what is ICL surgery, the types of ICL Surgery, ICL vs Lasik, and the transformative impact it has had on the lives of individuals seeking lasting vision improvement.

What is ICL Surgery?

ICL surgery, also commonly known as Phakic Intraocular Lenses (IOLs), introduces micro-thin lenses implanted within the eye to address refractive errors and correct spectacle power. Unlike traditional contact lenses, which are temporary and require daily insertion, ICLs are placed permanently inside the eye over the natural lens.

This ICL treatment surgical approach offers distinct advantages over standard laser procedures like LASIK and SMILE. Unlike these methods, ICL surgery eliminates the need for creating a corneal flap or removing corneal tissue. Additionally, ICL surgery avoids the common issue of corneal dryness associated with traditional spectacles removal procedures.

The noteworthy feature of ICLs is their ability to provide high-definition vision. The lenses are fixed inside the eye, ensuring stability and effective correction of both spherical and cylindrical powers. This characteristic sets them apart from contact lenses, enhancing vision quality without daily adjustments.

ICL surgery is beneficial for individuals with high refractive errors of eye, addressing powers as -20D and cylindrical corrections of up to 6D. This permanent eye lens surgery offers a safe and effective alternative for those seeking precise vision correction without the drawbacks associated with other vision correction procedures.

What Are the Types of ICL Surgery?

Now that we have a foundational understanding of What is ICL surgery, let's explore ICL surgery different types to address specific vision needs:

ICL Soft Lens:

The soft lens is formulated from a flexible polymeric material. This material bends easily, and its design mirrors the collagen found in the cornea, minimizing the risk of adverse reactions. During the soft lens implantation procedure, a small incision is made in the cornea, and the ICL is delicately positioned between the iris and the natural lens. Notably, this procedure requires no stitches.

Intraocular Lens (IOL):

Made for patients ineligible for LASIK due to severe nearsightedness, the Intraocular Lens type of ICL surgery involves placing the lens between the cornea and the iris. Surgeons use tiny stitches to secure the lens in place. It's important to note that the overall functionality of this lens may decrease with age, potentially leading to the need for reading glasses later in life. If a patient develops cataracts with an intraocular lens, corrective surgery involves removing the lens.

Is ICL Surgery Reversible?

Yes, ICL (Implantable Collamer Lens) surgery is reversible, despite its transformative effects on vision that eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses. In contrast to LASIK surgery, ICL does not involve any physical alteration of the eye's structure, and no corneal tissue is removed.

During ICL surgery, a corrective lens is implanted to enhance the eye's focusing ability, providing clearer vision. Unlike regular contact lenses, which need to be removed for the eyes to breathe, collamer lenses used in ICL surgery are designed to be left in permanently.

While it's a rare occurrence, the reversibility of ICL surgery is important. If there are significant changes in your prescription over time, the implanted lenses can be removed or replaced by your surgeon, adjusting them to your new prescription.

Is ICL Surgery Better than LASIK?

Whether ICL (Implantable Collamer Lens) surgery is better than LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) depends on various factors, including individual eye characteristics, lifestyle, and personal preferences. Both ICL vs. Lasik procedures are effective in correcting refractive errors and reducing dependency on glasses or contact lenses, but they differ in their approach.

Here are some key considerations when comparing ICL vs Lasik:

Eye Characteristics:

ICL surgery involves the implantation of a collamer lens inside the eye, leaving the natural cornea intact. LASIK, on the other hand, reshapes the cornea using a laser. ICL may be more suitable for individuals with thin corneas or those at a higher risk of complications with corneal procedures.

Preservation of Corneal Tissue:

ICL surgery preserves the corneal tissue, as no corneal reshaping occurs. LASIK involves removing a small amount of corneal tissue to reshape it. For some, the vision of preserving the cornea without altering its structure makes ICL an attractive option.


ICL surgery is considered reversible. If there are significant prescription changes or other issues, the implanted lens can be removed or replaced. LASIK, once performed, is generally not reversible.

Visual Recovery and Discomfort:

Some individuals can experience quicker visual recovery and less discomfort after ICL surgery compared to LASIK. LASIK might involve a short period of discomfort and may take a few days for vision to stabilize.

Suitability for High Prescriptions:

ICL surgery is preferred for individuals with high prescriptions, extreme nearsightedness, or farsightedness. LASIK may have limitations in treating very high refractive errors of eye.

Age Considerations:

ICL surgery may be a good option for individuals under 40 who are not suitable candidates for LASIK due to thin corneas or other factors.

When Should You Consult a Doctor for ICL Surgery?

You should consult a doctor about what is ICL surgery and for ICL (Implantable Collamer Lens) surgery if you meet the following conditions or considerations:

  1. Refractive errors of eye: If you have myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), or astigmatism and want a permanent solution to correct your vision, ICL surgery may be an option.
  2. Stable Prescription: Your eyeglass or contact lens prescription should be stable for a certain period. Significant changes in prescription may affect the suitability of ICL surgery.
  3. Age: ICL surgery is typically suitable for individuals between the ages of 21 and 45, although this can vary. Younger individuals are not ideal candidates because their vision can still be changing.
  4. Thin Corneas or High Prescriptions: If you have thin corneas or a prescription that falls outside the acceptable range for LASIK surgery, ICL may be a suitable alternative.
  5. Health of the Eyes: Your eyes should be generally healthy with no existing eye diseases, infections, or conditions that could compromise the success of the surgery.
  6. No Cataracts: ICL treatment is not suitable for individuals with cataracts. If you have cataracts, they should be addressed separately through cataract surgery.


ICL (Implantable Collamer Lens) surgery is a remarkable solution for individuals seeking an effective method to correct refractive errors and achieve clear vision. Before making any decision, engaging in a consultation with an experienced eye care professional is prudent. It allows for a comprehensive assessment of ocular health, consideration of lifestyle factors, and determination of the most suitable ICL treatment.