The Pros and Cons of the Visian ICL (Implantable Contact Lens)

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close up of woman's eye
by Dougherty Laser Vision

The Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL) or Implantable Contact Lens as it is commonly called, is similar to a regular external contact lens. The key difference being that the ICL is placed inside the eye opposed to on the outer surface. The ICL does not replace the eye’s natural lens but is specially shaped to work with it in order to correct vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

Below we’ll discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of the ICL and help to understand who would best benefit from this procedure.


Superb Visual Quality – Because the eye maintains a natural corneal shape with ICL, the quality of vision is excellent, particularly at higher prescriptions.  As a result, night vision can be better than with other procedures

No Dry Eye – Because corneal nerves are not disrupted during ICL implantation, the surgery does not produce dry eyes.

Good for Patients Ineligible for LASIK – Thin or irregular corneas, dry eye syndrome, very high prescriptions, or large pupils can disqualify someone from LASIK surgery in Los Angeles. An ICL is a great alternative that is unaffected by these issues.

They’re Biocompatible – The soft and flexible ICL is made from a bio-material called Collamer made with purified collagen. Because of this, the ICL will not be rejected by the body as a foreign element or cause a reaction while inside the eye.

Maintenance Free – No disinfecting, cleaning, or daily removing. The ICL is intended to stay in place and last indefinitely.

Completely Reversible – Should the need arise, the ICL can be removed or replaced. This means that ICL patients have much more flexibility with respect to candidacy for future vision correction procedures than LASIK patients.

Minimally Invasive – An ICL procedure takes very little time (as little as 7 minutes) and with very little downtime afterward (it is recommended that patients not drive for 1 or 2 days). Because of the ICL’s small size and material, it can be folded up, inserted, and set into place through an incision smaller than that of LASIK’s and without any tissue removal.

Longtime Use – With over 20 years and over 800,000 successful procedures since FDA approval in 2005, the Implantable Contact Lens has become a viable alternative in the world of vision correction surgery. Patients typically enjoy quick vision improvement without being aware that the ICL is even there.


Cosmetic Procedure – Like LASIK, the ICL is considered a cosmetic procedure and will likely not be covered under most insurance plans. An ICL is typically more expensive per eye than LASIK due to the fact that the implants are custom made for each individual patient.

Not for Everyone – Use of an ICL is primarily intended for the age group 18-50. Under age 18, your prescription and eyes are still changing. Over age 50, you are developing dysfunctional natural lenses and a procedure called Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) is more advisable.

Annual Check-Ups – Although ICL’s are intended to stay in place indefinitely, it is still recommended to have regular annual aftercare appointments to ensure that the implants are in position and functioning properly and to check for premature cataracts and increased pressure in the eye.

Will it work for me?

The ICL is yet another advanced procedure option for the treatment and improvement of vision. Call or schedule a free consultation online today to learn more about all of the vision correction services available at Dougherty Laser Vision in LA County and which will work best for your individual needs. Unsure what surgery is right for you? Take our LASIK Self Test!