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ICL Risks


All surgical procedures hold some possibility of complications and implantable contact lens treatment is no exception. Below is an overview of potential ICL risks.

Implantable Contact Lens Risks

When considering refractive surgery of any kind, you should be aware of each procedure's possible complications and costs. Potential ICL risks include:

  • Overcorrection – This complication occurs if the prescriptive power of the implanted ICL is too strong. In most cases it can be corrected with corrective eyewear or with an ICL replacement.
  • Undercorrection – The opposite of overcorrection, undercorrection is the result of an implantable contact lens with too weak of a prescription. Correction methods are similar to those of overcorrection.
  • Infection – During most surgeries, there is a potential of an infection. Severe infection during ICL implantation is rare.
  • Increased intraocular pressure – Pressure may build in the eye after an ICL procedure. The sooner a surgeon is alerted to this complication, the greater the chance of avoiding serious damage.
  • Repositioning or removal of lens –ICLs have the potential, however slight, of needing to be repositioned. The frequency of this complication may vary by implantable contact lens models.
  • Damage to crystalline lens – Because implantable contact lenses are implanted into the eye, there is a potential that the eye's natural lens may be damaged during the procedure. If the damage is severe, the crystalline lens may need to be replaced with an intraocular lens.
  • Cataract development – Over 50 percent of the population will develop cataracts by the age of 65, however, it is believed that the use of some implantable contact lenses may cause cataracts at an earlier age.
  • Halos, glare, and double vision – Updated ICL models greatly diminish the risks of halos, glare, and double vision.
  • Retinal detachment – Less than 1 percent of patients in the clinical studies for both the Verisyse™ phakic IOL and the Visian ICL™ were affected by retinal detachment. It should be noted, however, that the occurrence of retinal detachment increased as the degree of myopia increased.
  • Vision loss – Extremely rare, there is a possibility of vision loss from this refractive procedure. Typically the loss of visual acuity is due to bleeding, severe inflammation, or an untreated infection.

Understanding ICL Risks

It is important to note that several of the ICL risks listed above are potential complications of all refractive procedures, including:

  • Halos, glare, and double vision
  • Infection
  • Overcorrection
  • Undercorrection
  • Vision loss

In fact, ICL risks, such as halos, glare, and double vision tend to occur less frequently than the same laser eye surgery complications. Also, unlike LASIK vision correction and PRK surgery, overcorrection and undercorrection of refractive errors can be remedied by simply replacing the ICL with another implantable contact lens that has the correct prescription.

The ICL risks of vision loss and cataract development are rare. Improvements to implantable contact lens models have diminished the frequency of many ICL risks.

Because of differences between the design of implantable contact lenses, the placement of the lenses, and the surgical procedure used, the ICL risks associated with the Visian ICL™ and the Verisyse™ phakic IOL may vary. It is important to discuss the variations of possible complications with an ophthalmologist.

Contact a Specialist in Your Area with DocShop

For a more detailed explanation of ICL risks and to learn more about the benefits of implantable contact lenses, you should speak with your ophthalmologist. You can find a qualified ophthalmic surgeon in your area through DocShop's doctor directory.

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