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ICL (Implantable Contact Lens)

What is ICL Surgery?

The Implantable Collamer Lens, more commonly known as ICL, is a small, soft lens which is inserted into the eye to correct vision. The ICL can correct shortsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

During the procedure, the Visian ICL is folded and inserted into the eye through a tiny opening. Once inserted inside the eye, the lens slowly unfolds and the soft edges of the lens are then carefully tucked behind the iris.

Unlike other vision correction surgeries, the ICL does not replace the eye’s natural lens. The ICL provides permanent vision correction but can be removed if a problem occurs or if the patient wants to take advantage of future vision correction technologies.

The entire procedure takes less than 20 minutes. Most patients experience a complete recovery in 1 – 2 days.

Why Would I Choose ICL over LASIK?

Unlike other vision correction surgeries, the Visian ICL is added to the eye and can be removed. Other procedures, like LASIK, permanently alter the eye in some way in order to correct your vision, and are therefore not reversible like the ICL.

A procedure which is additive and reversible, allows a patient to take advantage of future vision correction technologies.

What is an Implantable Collamer Lens?

The Visian ICL is made of collamer, an advanced lens material that is soft, flexible and highly biocompatible. The biocompatible material means it is naturally accepted by your body.

It sits behind the iris, the colored part of the eye, and in front of the natural lens. When implanted, the lens is completely invisible- You will not be able to see or feel the lens in your eye.

Am I a Candidate for ICL Surgery?

Candidates for ICL surgery typically fall into two categories:

  • Those who are not a candidate for other laser vision correction procedures like LASIK
  • Those who are candidate for other laser vision corrections surgeries and the Visian ICL

In short, a candidate for the Visian ICL is someone who has nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism and would like to begin living their life free of glasses or contacts.

Not everyone is a candidate for laser vision correction surgeries like LASIK. If a patient has extreme myopia, they are likely not a candidate for LASIK. Thin or abnormally shaped corneas, keratoconus, and a predisposition to dry-eye syndrome can also cause a prospective patient to not be a great candidate for LASIK.

For patients not able to receive LASIK for any of these issues, we can happily offer ICL surgery as an alternative to LASIK that is both an extremely safe and effective vision correction option.

Our second group of best candidates is someone who is eligible for laser vision correction but have an individual preference for an option that is reversible, results in excellent visual acuity and quality, comes with no risk of aggravating dry eye syndrome, and has the advantage of leaving the patient open to any and all future technologies.

A comprehensive eye exam with your surgeon will determine if you are a good candidate for ICL surgery.

ICL Surgery at ADV Vision

Dr. Paul Dougherty has performed over 1,200 ICL procedures to date and has written multiple publications on the subject.

Dr. Dougherty helped pioneer the Visian ICL technology and was one of just a handful of surgeons in the US to serve as a principal investigator for the Visian ICL FDA clinical study. As such, he has implanted the Visian ICL internationally and on an investigational basis since 1999, long before it was approved for use in the US. In January 2006, Dougherty Laser Vision hosted the first post- approval ICL training session for US surgeons, and ophthalmologists from across the nation continue to come to our surgery centers to observe Dr. Dougherty performing the implant procedure.

To learn if ICL surgery is right for you, call or schedule an appointment at one of our locations in Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, or Paso Robles today.

ICL (Implantable Contact Lens) FAQs

What is the ICL lens made of?

ICL lens is made of Collamer, an advanced plastic lens material that is highly biocompatible. Collamer does not cause a reaction inside the eye and contains an ultraviolet filter that provides protections to the eyes.

How soon can I return back to my daily activities after having ICL surgery?

Most patients can return to their full daily routine activities the next day. However, we ask that you do not go swimming, bend past the waist or lift more than 20 pounds for 1 week after surgery.

How long does the ICL stay in my eye?

ICL is intended to remain in place in the eye without maintenance – it is self-cleaning. Should it become necessary, the lens can be removed by your surgeon later in life when you develop a cataract.

Will I be able to see the ICL in my eye?

No. The lens is positioned behind the iris where it is invisible to both you and observers. Only your doctor will be able to tell that vision correction has taken place.

Can the ICL be felt once it is in place?

ICL is placed behind the iris and in front of the eye’s crystalline lens. The lens does not touch any internal eye structures within your line of vision and is designed to stay in position, so you will not feel it.


At ADV Vision, we believe everyone deserves great care. Find out more about your options on our financing page.

Paso Robles LASIK & Cataract Center

View office details 805-987-5300
104 Gateway Center Suite B
Paso Robles, CA 93446
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Santa Maria LASIK & Cataract Center

View office details 805-987-5300
525 East Plaza Dr. #304
Santa Maria, CA 93454
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San Luis Obispo LASIK & Cataract Surgeon

View office details 805-987-5300
835 Aerovista Park #110
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
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Paragon Surgery Center — Eye Surgery in San Luis Obispo

View office details (805) 548-1051
4472 Broad St Suite 150
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
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