But that doesn’t mean they still have to live with their eyeglasses or contact lenses. The Visian ICL™, which stands for “Implantable Collamer Lens,” (we prefer to think of it as Implantable Contact Lens) is an awesome new option.
Dr. Richens is the first surgeon in Southern Utah offering the Visian ICL for our patients.
What is Visian ICL?
The Visian ICL™ is an advanced soft-material lens made of 100 percent biocompatible collagen copolymer. These are, in effect, permanent contact lenses for permanent vision correction. These lenses are implanted behind the iris and in front of the natural lens of the eye. The procedure only takes about 20 minutes per eye, and the patient has vision that is sharper, clearer, and more vivid than what one can achieve with glasses or contacts. Unlike LASIK, where the shape of the patient’s cornea is permanently changed, Visian ICL™ is an additive procedure: the lenses are simply permanently added to the patient’s eyes.
Who is a good candidate for Visian ICL?
If you are between the ages of 21 and 45 and are nearsighted, odds are you’re a good candidate for Visian ICL™. These lenses are able to treat a range of patients from low to extremely high refractive errors and they are especially beneficial for those with thin corneas and dry eyes.
Also, there is a Visian Toric ICL™, which also corrects for astigmatism.
What are the advantages of Visian ICL?
- Immediate vision improvement at all distances — The Visian ICL™ instantly corrects for the patient’s refractive errors in their vision, eliminating or thoroughly reducing the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses.
- High-definition vision — The quality of vision delivered by Visian ICL™ is unmatched. Patients enjoy vision correction that’s sharper, clearer, more vivid, with greater depth and dimension. Unlike a common side effect with intraocular lenses used for cataract surgery, Visian ICL™ doesn’t create halos or glare around lights with night driving.
- Permanent, yet also removable — These implants are permanent, but they also can be removed and/or replaced if necessary, for instance if the patient’s vision refraction changes of if they develop cataracts.
- No cornea changes — No corneal tissue is removed when Dr. Richens implants the Visian ICL™ lenses. This precludes any of the problems with the cornea that can follow procedures that remove or reshape corneal tissue.
- Short recovery time — Thanks to the tiny incision made by Dr. Richens (only measuring 2.5 mm), recovery is incredibly short. These are outpatient procedures that generally take about 15-20 minutes per eye, and recovery time can be as little as one day. There is only minimal discomfort. Many patients can often return to work the next day.
- UV protection — The sun’s UV radiation is one of the main causes of the development of cataracts and some other retinal problems. The Visian ICL™ advanced lens material contains a UV blocker that prevents harmful UVA and UVB rays from entering the eye.
- Flexibility for the future — Our vision changes as we age, and eventually just about all of us will need cataract surgery. The ability to remove and replace the Visian ICL™, if necessary, allows flexibility should you need another procedure such as cataract surgery.
- Hassle-free — This is permanent vision improvement. No more cleaning and changing out contact lenses. No more glasses. And there aren’t any problems with swimming or playing any sports with Visian ICL™ lenses in your eyes.
- Option for patients who can’t have LASIK — Patients with thin corneas have typically be unable to have LASIK. The same is true if their refractive errors are too high. Both of those patient types can have Visian ICL™.
Who is NOT a candidate for Visian ICL?
There are some people who do not qualify for Visian ICL™:
- Patients whose eye prescription has changed significantly in the last six months.
- Patients without enough posterior corneal cell density.
- Patients with an anterior chamber depth of less than 3.00 mm.
- Patients who are pregnant or nursing.
- Patients with uncontrolled dry eye or blepharitis.
- Patients with corneal endothelial dystrophy.
It is preferable that the patient has not undergone any ophthalmic surgery and does not have a history of eye disease such as iritis, glaucoma, or diabetic retinopathy.
How is the Visian ICL procedure performed?
These are outpatient procedures performed by Dr. Richens at our three locations in St. George and Mesquite. The procedure only takes about 15-20 minutes per eye. Dr. Richens places the Visian ICL™ lens behind the iris and in front of the eye’s natural lens. The patient first receives topical anesthetic eye drops to minimize any discomfort. To insert the lens, Dr. Richens makes a tiny incision (2.5 mm) and the lens implant is rolled into an injector, which inserts the lens into the eye. Once injected, the lens unfolds in the eye and the procedure is complete. The micro incision is so small it heals without the need for any sutures.
What is the expected recovery time after having Visian ICL lenses placed?
Recovery time is minimal. There is little pain. One day is not unusual for the patient’s recovery, with many patients returning to work the next day.
Are there risks with Visian ICL? Is this a safe procedure?
The FDA approved the Visian ICL™ for a wide range of myopia/nearsightedness correction in 2005. The toric version can also correct astigmatism.
Extensive research and development preceded the introduction of Visian ICL™. These lenses have been implanted in over 500,000 patients around the world. And the satisfaction rates are off the charts, over 99 percent. The Visian ICL™ provides unparalleled quality of vision and has excellent and stable outcomes for patients with mild to severe myopia. They’ve been available internationally for over two decades.