How safe is ICL?


How safe is ICL?

Leading a specs-free life is a wish come true for many of us who want to experience life at its best. Nowadays, there are different advanced refractive procedures available. People with very high eye power and dry eye condition, who are considering undergoing a specs removal surgery might have heard of ICL surgery. The term ICL stands for Implantable Collamer Lens or Implantable Contact Lens. In general terms, an ICL surgery can be understood as a permanent lens surgery, where an artificial lens is placed in the eye for vision correction. If you are concerned about ICL safety, it will be a relief to know that the procedure is performed by specialized eye surgeons. Generally, ICL, also known as Phakic IOL eye surgery is state-of-the-art intraocular lens with a very high success rate of 95%.

It is minimally invasive as the lens is inserted through a minor opening, enabling speedy healing of the eye. But, there is a downside as well, there are certain side effects of ICL surgery one should be aware of before recklessly rushing for the procedure. It is better to know both pros and cons, as half knowledge is more dangerous than no knowledge at all.


General risks involved with ICL eye surgery

Like other medical or surgical procedures, some side effects are related to ICL surgery:

  • Early cataracts: If the ICL size is not appropriate, it may restrict the fluid circulation in the eye, thereby adding to the risk of cataracts and can also give rise to inflammation.
  • Corneal haze: With aging, the endothelial cells in the cornea decrease. So, if the cells decrease rapidly, you may get a cloudy cornea or corneal haze.
  • Eye infection: It is a rare side effect which may even lead to permanent loss of vision.
  • Blurry or hazy vision: This symptom may be due to opacification of the lens leading to cataract. Other vision problems like double vision or glare can also develop.
  • Retinal detachment: If the ICL eye surgery is not performed precisely or if the patient’s retina is weak, they have a higher risk of detachment of the retina from its original position. Though it is a rare complication, when it arises, it needs immediate medical attention.
  • Need for another surgery: Due to a complication or risk, you may require additional surgery to correct the associated issues.
  • Increased chances of Glaucoma: In case, the permanent contact lens is not placed properly, it results in increased pressure in the eye. This makes an individual prone to Glaucoma
  • Loss of vision: If the eye pressure is perpetually high, there are increased chances of experiencing vision loss.

Don’t worry too much about ICL operation risks, these can be avoided to a great extent by mindfully choosing the right eye care provider and surgeon. It is wise to prefer a certified and experienced refractive surgeon. In addition, make sure to ask all relevant questions to your doctors and be transparent about your medical history. This way, you will ensure a smooth treatment journey. Patiently discussing all aspects of your eye health and understanding whether you are eligible for ICL eye surgery is the only right way to safeguard you from unprecedented eye complications.


Who should avoid undergoing ICL eye surgery?

Not everyone is ideal for ICL surgery. While thinking of undergoing ICL eye surgery, discuss with your eye specialist if it is safe for you. Get personal consultation and know in detail about your eye health.


According to eye doctors, ICL eye surgery is not ideal in the following scenarios:

  • Pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • Age less than 21 years
  • Age above 45 years
  • Chronic illness leading to hormonal imbalance
  • Ongoing medication related to changes in the vision
  • A medical condition that slows down wound healing abilities
  • If the patient can’t discontinue wearing contact lenses even during the week of the surgery


Another query that is commonly asked to refractive surgeons is whether all refractive procedures are the same. Let’s gain further clarity on this.


How is ICL different from LASIK?

ICL is not a synonym for LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis). These are two different refractive surgeries which correct problems like farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism. In LASIK, unlike ICL, no artificial lens is used, rather the vision is corrected through laser on cornea. In LASIK, the corneal flap is created through a laser and another laser is fired to reshape the cornea, which in effect enhances vision. Once the procedure completes, the flap is placed in its normal position. LASIK is a stitchless procedure which offers speedy recovery. However, if a person has a thin and irregular cornea, they are not ideal for LASIK and in such cases, opting for ICL surgery may be a better option.


Final Words

One kind of refractive surgery is not suitable for all candidates. The same approach applies to ICL. As discussed earlier, this safe refractive procedure is favorable for patients with high eye power and if their corneal health doesn’t allow alteration, so a new lens is placed. To know more about this ‘permanent eye lens surgery’, you can consult Centre For Sight. We are experts in the Implantable Collamer Lenses technology. Our eye specialists are skilled and experienced. To book your appointment, visit

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