Implantable Contact Lenses (ICL)

Unlike traditional contact lenses that go on the surface of the eye, the new Visian ICL is surgically inserted into the eye to correct moderate to high amounts of myopia (nearsightedness) and reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contacts. These lenses are currently able to correct myopia from
-3.00 diopters to -15.00 diopters, and have already helped over 55,000 people worldwide to enjoy life without glasses or contacts.

Nearsighted patients may be candidates for the Visian ICL even if they have been turned down for LASIK. This new lens can be implanted in patients with high prescriptions, thin corneas, or dry eyes, which can often disqualify a patient for traditional laser vision correction.

The procedure is similar to cataract surgery but differs in that the natural lens is not removed from the eye. Instead, the ICL is placed in front of your natural lens and works with it to correct vision. The lens is also invisible to the naked eye, and can be removed if necessary.

If you’ve been waiting for a new, safe and effective technology that could give you exceptional vision, now is the time to see if you’re a candidate for the Visian ICL!



What is the Visian ICL?
The Visian ICL is an implantable contact lens that is surgically inserted into the eye to correct nearsightedness. The lens is made of a highly biocompatible collamer material that does not cause a reaction inside the eye, and it even has an ultraviolet filter for additional protection. The implantable contact lens is designed to sit in front of your natural crystalline lens located behind the iris, and cannot be seen by the naked eye.

Who is a good candidate?
The implantable contact lens is a great alternative to glasses or contacts even for patients who are non-candidates for LASIK or PRK. The Visian ICL is currently FDA approved for myopic (nearsighted) patients between the ages of 21 and 45 who have myopia from -3.00 diopters to -15.00 diopters. These lenses are not able to correct hyperopia (farsightedness) or astigmatism, although FDA investigations are currently underway. Patients with higher prescriptions or with astigmatism may be candidates for bioptic (dual) procedures which may include LASIK, PRK, or LRI incisions along with the Visian ICL in order to achieve the best vision possible.

It is recommended that patients not be pregnant or nursing within six months of the procedure, nor have any history of previous ophthalmic surgery or disease such as glaucoma, iritis, or diabetic retinopathy.

How is the procedure performed?
Implantation of the contact lens is very similar to the procedure performed for cataract surgery, except with the Visian ICL the natural crystalline lens is not removed from the eye. Instead, the implantable contact lens is placed in front of the natural lens and works with it to correct vision.

Before the procedure, you will receive a mild sedative and your eye will be numbed with an anesthetic eye drop. A self-sealing microscopic incision will be made in the periphery of the cornea (the clear “window” of the eye) through which the folded Visian ICL will be inserted. The implantable contact lens will slowly unfold in front of the iris, and your surgeon will then carefully tuck the corners of the implant under the iris. The procedure generally takes less than 15 minutes and is an outpatient procedure performed in our ambulatory surgery center.

Is the surgery painful?
This procedure is essentially painless. You will be given a sedative and your eyes will be numbed with anesthetic eye drops. You will be awake for the procedure, but in a sleepy, dream-like state. Some patients may experience a feeling of light pressure from the lid speculum (the instrument used to hold your eyelids open), but you should not experience any pain. If you should feel uncomfortable during the procedure, you may be given more sedation. The lens itself is not noticeable once it is in place. It does not attach to any structures within the eye and stays in position on its own.

Can it dry out or get dirty like a contact lens?
Since the Visian ICL is designed to remain in place inside the eye, there is no maintenance involved. The lens won’t get dirty or dry. We do recommend routine, annual visits with your eye doctor to make sure everything is fine. Should it become necessary, the lens can be removed by your surgeon.

Will both eyes be done on the same day?
No. The surgery is typically performed one eye at a time, generally one to two weeks apart. The eye heals very rapidly in most people and vision can be excellent even on the first day, but sometimes vision will be blurry for a few days. Most patients can see well enough after the first surgery to function without glasses for the week in between. Contact lens wearers can wear their contact on the untreated eye up to three days before the second surgery.

Will I ever need glasses again?
Although the goal of the Visian ICL is to improve vision to the point of not being dependent on glasses or contacts, we cannot guarantee that your vision will be 20/20 following the procedure. You should understand that your eyes will continue to change as you age, possibly causing you to develop myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness) over a length of time, though it is rare. Most people will eventually develop presbyopia (the loss of reading vision) sometime after the age of 40 and will require the use of reading glasses. Presently, the Visian ICL cannot treat presbyopia or cataracts. Additional treatments or other procedures (such as CK for presbyopia) are available to correct the above refractive errors.

Are there certain restrictions following the procedure?
Most patients are able to return to work and other normal activities one to three days after their surgery. You should be prepared to use eye drops for a few weeks to prevent infection and help the healing process. Although recovery is fairly quick, it is advisable to be careful with your eyes and avoid any strain. We also request that patients avoid lifting heavy objects, rubbing their eyes, bending below the waist, and getting water in the eyes for two weeks following surgery.

What are the risks involved?
Every surgery has risks as well as benefits. The overall risk of surgery is very low and is comparable to the risk of laser vision correction. The risk of severe complication or even blindness is less than 1%. The most notable risks include infection, glaucoma, retinal detachment, and edema (swelling), among others.

In order to help prevent elevated eye pressure following implantation of the Visian ICL, your surgeon will perform a Peripheral Iridotomy (PI) one week prior to your surgery. This simple in-office procedure uses a small laser to create two microscopic openings in the periphery of your iris which allows the eye’s internal fluid to flow freely and properly within the eye. These risks and other complications will be fully discussed with your prior to your procedure.

Will I have to wear eye patches following surgery?
You will not have to wear patches or bandages. However, you will be required to wear a clear, plastic eye shield over your treated eye when sleeping for two weeks following your procedure. The eye shield is necessary to protect the eye from pressure and rubbing until the incision is fully healed.

Will my insurance cover the surgery?
Insurance carriers have deemed Visian ICL surgery as an elective/cosmetic surgery and will not cover the cost of the procedure. Because LASIK is considered elective surgery (cosmetic), most health insurance plans do not cover it. However, Southern Eye Associates also offers financing through CareCredit. Visit them at or call them at (800) 365-8295. O% Financing for 12-24 months is available for those that qualify. Cannot be combined with any other offers or discounts.