Implantable Collamer Lenses (ICL) are made of collamer, an innovative material that combines collagen and polymer to provide a more natural and organic-feeling lens and an incredible quality of vision for patients that are nearsighted. The small lens is a removable implant that is placed inside the eye to provide patients with high-quality vision that is both sharp and clear without removing any corneal tissue. This means that the procedure is completely reversible if necessary.

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Who is a Good Candidate for Implantable Collamer Lens Implants?

ICLs act in the same way that traditional contact lenses do. They are a good option for people with moderate to high myopia (nearsightedness) and high prescriptions who are not candidates for vision correction procedures like LASIK or PRK. In addition to myopia, beginning November 1st, 2018, the toric ICL will be available to treat patients with astigmatism.

ICL can achieve results as good or better than LASIK or PRK, but requires surgery inside the eye, so it is more commonly reserved for patients who are not better served by a laser-based procedure.  ICL does not treat hyperopia (farsightedness). Because ICLs are removable, they do not hinder any future eye surgeries (should they be needed).

Ideal candidates for ICL implants:

  • Are between the ages of 21 and 45
  • Have myopia (nearsightedness) with or without astigmatism
  • Are not pregnant or within 6 months post-pregnancy
  • Are not candidates for LASIK (have dry eyes, severe myopia, or a thin cornea)
  • Have a stable prescription (no changes within the last year)
  • Do not have a history of eye disease

If you are a candidate for ICL implants, our ophthalmologists may ask you to discontinue use of contact lenses for at least 2 weeks prior to your procedure. This allows your eye prescription to be read accurately so that a proper implant is calculated before surgery.

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ICL Surgery


Before your procedure, your surgeon will perform an in-office laser peripheral iridotomy to prevent pressure build up behind your iris. It is recommended to have a driver on the day of the peripheral iridotomy. Your vision will be a little blurry that afternoon, but you can return to work the next day.  

At the time of the procedure, your eye will be numbed using topical anesthetic drops. Occasionally, an additional mild sedative may be administered to keep you relaxed. A small corneal incision will be made through which the ICL will be inserted. ICLs are very flexible and can be folded, allowing the incision to be very small. The ICL unfolds upon insertion and then is carefully and gently placed behind the iris, where it is not noticeable to others.

The surgical procedure only takes about 10-15 minutes per eye. Patients experience very little discomfort and vision is immediately improved. Unlike traditional contacts, ICLs require no maintenance but can be removed if needed.


The ICL procedure is very quick, but someone will need to drive you home after surgery. A post-operative check is needed the day after surgery and many patients can drive themselves to this appointment. It is recommended that patients have someone available in case they are not comfortable driving yet.

While most patients experience minimal discomfort after surgery, individual cases and healing times vary. Immediately after surgery, eyes may feel sensitive, teary, or blurry for a few hours. Minimal discomfort 1-2 days after surgery is normal.

Patients can minimize discomfort by resting with their eyes closed and using prescriptions that are given by our ophthalmologists. Antibiotics, anti-inflammatory, and occasionally pressure lowering medications will promote healing in the eyes. Most patients see optimal results within a week of surgery, and the eye should be completely healed within one month.


Whether you require laser eye surgery or another procedure, you want the best care when it comes to your vision. To make quality care accessible to everyone, Milan Eye Center offers zero-down financing options with approved credit through Wells Fargo, CareCredit, and Alphaeon. We also accept all FSA/HSA plans.

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