Visian ICL

Staar Surgical’s Visian ICL is a great option for patients who cannot have LASIK or have a difficult to treat prescription

ICL Overview

Unlike refractive lens exchange (RLE), phakic intraocular lenses do not replace the eye’s natural lens but rather supplement it. Visian ICL (Implantable Collamer Lens) is a revolutionary advancement in vision correction technology. The ICL, sometimes referred to as an implantable contact lens, is a micro-thin lens made from a biocompatible collamer material that is inserted through the pupil into the small fluid space between your iris (colored part of the eye) and your clear human lens. It is designed to work with your eye seamlessly to provide you with freedom from glasses or contacts by adding the needed power to correct your vision. Your human lens is left untouched, which means patients under 40 years of age maintain their natural close-up focusing ability.

Implantable collamer lenses provide sharp, high-definition vision and is particularly useful for patients who are too myopic for LASIK but are too young for RLE. Because phakic IOLs are fixed into the eye and can only be removed by a doctor, they are more convenient and easier to maintain than traditional contact lenses. The procedure requires only about 15 to 30 minutes per eye and improvements to vision are immediate.

Visian ICL Candidacy

Phakic interocular lenses such as implantable collamer lenses are often ideal for patients over 21 who are extremely nearsighted and wish to eliminate their dependence on contact lenses or thick glasses.

Benefits of Visian ICL over LASIK and other procedures

  • They can provide higher quality vision outcomes over laser procedures such as LASIK, especially for patients with high nearsightedness.
  • They provide permanent vision correction, yet it is removable with no permanent alteration of your tissue or eye’s anatomy.
  • Due to the lens being implanted behind your iris, your natural cornea is preserved.
  • It has a proven track record of satisfied patients.
  • Implantable collamer lenses are maintenance-free with immediate improvements in vision after the procedure.

Visian ICL Procedure

The Visian ICL procedure requires 2 stages. For the first part, Dr. Cavanaugh will perform a YAG laser PI (peripheral iridotomy) on both eyes by making two small laser holes in the colored portion of your eye (the iris) to help ensure that intraocular fluid does not build up behind the phakic lens and cause a dangerous elevation of pressure. The YAG PI procedure will take place in our laser suite at the office on a separate day prior to implantation of your collamer lens.

Next comes your Visian ICL implantation. At the time of surgery, your pupils will be dilated and you will be given an anesthetic. Your eye will be numb and you will be relaxed during your procedure. The surgeon will make a small incision in your cornea to allow insertion of the lens. The Visian ICL phakic IOL is inserted behind the iris and in front of the natural lens. The incision required to perform this operation is self-sealing and typically requires no stitches or sutures. A temporary shield may be placed over the eye to protect it during the immediate postoperative period.

You will return to your eye doctor the next day for an examination. Your eye will be examined with a microscope to make sure the lens is positioned correctly and that there are no complications. You will return for additional postoperative exams as instructed by your doctor. Although you may see some improvement in your vision as early as the first postoperative day, the visual effects of phakic implant surgery may take several weeks to stabilize. Patients are generally able to return to their normal activities within 2 or 3 days following phakic implant surgery with the exception of heavy lifting, swimming or rubbing the eye.

Only one eye will be treated at a time. If you decide to have the second eye treated with phakic implant surgery, you will need to wait until your ophthalmologist has determined that the first eye has healed sufficiently. You will be required to wait a minimum of one week before receiving an implant in the second eye.

Visian ICL FAQs

Where can I find more about the STAAR Visian ICL?
More information can be found at the Visian ICL website:

Am I a candidate for the Visian ICL?
The implantable Collamer lens works best for patients who suffer from moderate to severe myopia, but have not had other ophthalmic surgeries. Those between the ages of 21 and 45 without a history of ophthalmic diseases such as glaucoma, iritis, or diabetic retinopathy make the best candidates for the Visian ICL. The Visian ICL has different treatment ranges which vary by country.

What are the advantages of the Visian ICL?
Implantable collamer lenses can correct a wide range of myopia without removing or destroying the cornea’s delicate tissue. During this surgical eye correction procedure, the doctor makes a tiny incision about 3 mm long. This incision will not require sutures. It is just large enough to insert the Visian ICL, a small, foldable, injectable lens. The lens is made of an advanced biocompatible material called Collamer. Because these lenses are placed inside the eye, refractive outcomes and optical performance are consistent. The result is excellent quality of vision.

What if a patient’s vision changes?
The Visian ICL may be removed or replaced if eyesight changes. Another surgical eye correction can be done to correct the discrepancy. Eyeglasses and contact lenses may also be worn if correction becomes necessary. The phakic IOL cannot be used to treat presbyopia, the need for reading glasses due to age.

Can the lenses dry out or get dirty like a contact lens?
No. The Visian ICL is designed to be a maintenance-free eye correction treatment. We recommend you continue to have annual ophthalmology exams to ensure that your eyes stay healthy.

Can the Visian ICL be seen by the naked eye?
No. Your vision correction lens will be completely invisible to you and all observers. The Visian ICL is hidden behind the iris, resulting in a perfect cosmetic appearance. Only medical professionals will be able to determine that there is a lens in place.

What is the Visian ICL made of?
The Visian ICL uses a collagen co-polymer material called Collamer, which is proprietary to STAAR Surgical Company. It contains a small amount of purified collagen and is very stable and biocompatible, which means it will not cause a reaction in your eye. Additionally, it contains an ultraviolet light filter.

What is involved in Visian ICL surgical eye correction?
Before the Visian ICL surgical eye correction procedure, the surgeon will administer a topical or local anesthetic. A tiny incision will be made.

Surgical eye correction with the Visian ICL typically involves little discomfort and no pain. In fact, after the surgery has been completed, you will be able to leave the same day. Please note that Visian ICL patients should arrange to have someone drive them home after surgery. The surgeon will check on your eyes’ progress at an appointment scheduled for the next day. After-surgery care may involve prescription eye drops or oral medication.

How long will the Visian ICL stay in the eye?
The Visian ICL is intended to remain in place without maintenance. If for any reason removal of the lens becomes necessary, it can be easily taken out by a trained ophthalmic surgeon.

Can the Visian ICL be felt once it is in place?
Because the Visian ICL does not attach to any eye structures or move around in the eye, most patients do not feel it or notice that it is there.