ICL Surgery

ICL laser eye surgery can be used to treat short sightedness, long sightedness and astigmatism by implanting an artificial lens into the eye.

What Is ICL Surgery?

ICL stands for Implantable Contact Lens. There are three main different types of lens implants available at the moment, each of which helps to tackle a specific eye problem. It is recommended for people between the ages of 21 and 45 years old and should not be carried out on those who have a history of diseases within the eye or have had ophthalmic surgery. It works best for people who have medium to severe short-sightedness.

How Does ICL Surgery Work

ICL patient Image shot at Advanced Vision Care

An ICL does not replace your eye's natural lens, but rather goes in front of it (and behind the iris, which gives the eye its colour.) A surgeon will make a small incision on the surface of the eye and inject the ICL, which is folded up into a small shape. Once in the eye, it unfolds into position. The surgery takes around half an hour under local anesthetic.

When in place, the lens performs the same role as spectacles or traditional contact lenses: it alters the way light is focused on the retina, increasing focus and clarity in vision.

An ICL does not replace your eye's natural lens, but rather goes in front of it (and behind the iris, which gives the eye its colour.) A surgeon will make a small incision on the surface of the eye and inject the ICL, which is folded up into a small shape. Once in the eye, it unfolds into position. The surgery takes around half an hour under local anesthetic.

When in place, the lens performs the same role as spectacles or traditional contact lenses: it alters the way light is focused on the retina, increasing focus and clarity in vision.


The Cost of ICL Surgery

Since the ICL lenses are custom-made to order, a non-refundable deposit is then requested. Prices for this are around £500 per eye. This deposit is included in the final price but will not be returned should the procedure be cancelled as this covers the cost of manufacture.

The total cost of the surgery is somewhere between £1,895 and £3,450 per eye which also includes aftercare for about one year after the surgery. Some practitioners also recommend that patients have an Endothelial Cell Count test about once every two years after surgery which will cost around £25 each time.

Many leading laser eye surgery clinics also provide finance options, including payment plans and interest-free deals for surgery. The exact terms are decided by the clinic itself and will require a credit check.

Clinic Price (per eye) Deposit Finance
Optical Express £1,895 £500 0% APR x 10 months = £139.50
Optegra £3,495 £699 0% APR x 48 months = £58.25
Optimax £2,495 £500 0% APR x 12 months = £166.25
Advanced Vision Care £3,350 £1,250 0% APR x 18 months = £117.00
Focus £3,000 £500 0% APR x 12 months = £208.00

Factors Effecting the Overall Cost of ICL Eye Surgery

There are several factors which could have an effect on the total cost of ICL surgery. Different surgeons charge differing amounts which will usually vary depending on a number of factors including:

  • The amount of experience they have in this specific field of surgery.
  • Their overall qualifications.
  • The reputation of the surgeon or clinic itself.

It is advised that potential ICL patients should ensure they receive several quotes from a number of clinics and comparing what is included in the cost of the ICL surgery for example, whether the aftercare support that is included in the quoted price.


What Implants Are Available?

When we see an object, light passes through the cornea and the lens and forms an image on the retina at the back of the eye. If there is a problem with the natural lens, laser eye surgery can be used to correct it. However, laser eye surgery is not always possible, whether because of cataract formation (clouding over of the lens), or another reason. In this situation, there are three alternative treatments to consider:.

  • Refractive Lens Exchange - In this treatment, the natural lens is replaced with an artificial one, with the aim of ensuring any short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (presbyopia) or astigmatism is corrected so that the patient will no longer need to wear glasses or contact lenses.
  • Cataract Surgery - In cataract surgery the natural lens is replaced with an artificial one but although about 95% of patients will regain the sight they had before the formation of the cataracts, most will still need glasses if they did so before.
  • Implantable Contact Lenses (ICL Surgery) - This treatment also avoids the need for the patient to wear glasses or contact lenses for any reason by implanting a soft, flexible artificial lens, similar to a contact lens, over the natural lens without removing it.

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The Benefits of ICL Eye Surgery

The biggest benefit of ICL is that it is suitable for a wider ranger of patients than laser treatment, particularly those who are severely short-sighted or long-sighted or suffer significant astigmatism. Some ICL providers report having successfully treated patients with short-sightedness of up to -20 dioptres; to put that into context, anything over -6 dioptres is generally defined as high myopia.

The surgery is virtually pain-free and only takes around 30 minutes to perform and patients should notice an improvement immediately after surgery. Recovery time from the surgery is relatively quick due to the minimally invasive nature of the surgery itself, with patients being fully healed in one month.

Other benefits include the following.

  • ICL is suitable for people who want to keep their options open. The procedure is totally reversible and the lens can be removed or replaced if you change your mind, or if your eye changes over time.
  • ICL leaves you open to the possibility of eye treatment technologies continuing to develop and improve.
  • In some cases, ICL may work out cheaper than using traditional contact lenses in the long run. This will vary from person to person and probably should not be your sole reason for getting the treatment.
  • Some providers offer ICL models that include protection from ultra-violet rays, similar to wearing sunglasses. This does not involve any change in the lens's colour or what you see.

The lens itself manufactured exclusively for each individual and it is also completely reversible, so if the patient's vision changes over time, they can be removed and replaced. It can work out cheaper than removable contact lenses in the long run and this method is very safe and has a high success rate. Patients can even normally go back to work, drive and resume normal activities the day after surgery, making an extremely attractive option for many people suffering from a number of sight related issues.

Side Effects or Risks of ICL Surgery

ICL requires a much smaller incision than laser surgery, so the recovery process is usually much quicker and with fewer side effects. you will need to return to the surgery the day after the procedure for a check-up and may have to use eye drops to deal with the problem of "dry eye" or irritation. You may also need to wear a protective eye shield.

Possible side effects include:

  • some short-lived, minor discomfort or pain that can be treated with over the counter medication
  • blurriness
  • increased sensitivity to light.

These effects should be short-lived and your eyes should be back to "normal" within a week at the most, and sometimes as little as 24 hours.

Considering ICL Surgery?

ICL is a very personalised surgery, with the lens made to suit your specific eyes. It can be a good option for many people, but is not necessarily your best option. We highly recommend using our consultation booking service that will put you in touch with a local surgeon who will be able to talk over the procedure with you, assess your needs, and help you make an informed decision.

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