Not everyone is a good candidate for LASIK eye surgery. But what if you still want to improve your vision while reducing or eliminating the need for glasses or contacts?
A popular alternative to LASIK surgery is ICL, or Implantable Contact Lens, also sometimes referred to as a permanent contact lens. An ICL is a soft lens that is attached to the eye for correcting nearsightedness. An Implanted Contact Lens is intended to be permanent, but it can be replaced if changes are needed in the future. Unlike LASIK eye surgery, the ICL procedure is completely reversible.
There are certain advantages to ICL over LASIK. For example, with LASIK, permanent changes are made to your eye and those changes are something you'll have to live with. If the LASIK procedure worked out you're OK, but if it didn't, you're stuck with it. In stark contrast, Implantable Contact Lenses can be changed out at any time if corrections are needed.
If you've previously worn contact lenses, you already know the hassles of normal contacts - cleaning, soaking, removing and replacing, etc. But with implantable contact lenses, all those frustrations immediately disappear. The implants are permanent and should never require any attention unless your vision changes as you age. Implantable contact lenses provide the same vision improvements as normal temporary contact lenses, but they require none of the attention and maintenance of normal contact lenses.
The ICL procedure is usually done on an outpatient basis and you'll experience little or no pain. A mild sedative is administered to provide a calming effect and a 1/8 inch incision is made for insertion of the lens. Once inserted, the lens is properly positioned. In almost all cases, sutures are not required to close the incision point. If you're having the procedure performed on both eyes, they'll both be completed in a single session. The entire procedure is usually completed within about 30 minutes.
Upon completion of the ICL procedure, you'll be sent to a 'post-op' area for recovery. Once staff members determine that you're stable, you'll be sent home to relax for the remainder of the day. You'll need to return the next day for a follow-up exam, just to make sure that everything is OK.
There may be some mild haziness upon completion of the implantation, but this usually clears itself within a short period of time. Most patients see quick improvements in vision, with about 90% of normal vision restored within the first 24 hours. Normally, your vision on the second day will be good enough to allow you to drive yourself to the examination.
The main issue of concern with implantable contact lenses is the risk of infection. Infection is a serious condition that can result in the loss of vision, so your doctor will take the necessary precautions while performing the procedure.
Implantable contact lenses are a reasonable alternative to LASIK surgery for patients who have trouble seeing at a distance. However, ICL does not help you if you need reading glasses.
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