Refractive eye surgery is a popular method for correcting vision problems, including nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Two common types of refractive eye surgery are ICL (Implantable Collamer Lens) implantation and LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) surgery. Both of these procedures are designed to reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses, but they have several important differences that you should consider before deciding which one is right for you.
What Is ICL?
ICL (Implantable Collamer Lens) implantation is a type of refractive surgery that involves implanting a tiny, flexible lens inside the eye. The lens is made of a material called Collamer, which is biocompatible and does not cause any adverse reactions. During the procedure, a tiny incision is made in the eye, and the lens is carefully inserted through the incision and positioned behind the iris (the colored part of the eye). The lens then reshapes the light entering the eye, helping to focus the light more precisely on the retina.
What Is LASIK?
LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) surgery, on the other hand, involves the use of a laser to reshape the cornea, the clear outer layer of the eye that helps to focus light. During the procedure, a flap is created on the cornea, and the laser is used to reshape the corneal tissue. The flap is then placed back down, and the cornea heals itself over the next several days.
Advantages Of ICL
ICL implantation is a quick and painless procedure, typically taking less than 30 minutes to complete. The recovery time is also relatively short, with most people experiencing only minor discomfort and seeing a noticeable improvement in their vision within a few days. Additionally, because the lens is placed inside the eye, it is not affected by the normal changes that occur with age, such as the thinning of the cornea.
ICL implantation can correct nearsightedness, and astigmatism. This makes it an attractive option for people with more complex vision problems who may not be eligible for LASIK surgery. Additionally, the procedure is reversible, making it a more flexible option for people who may need a different type of vision correction in the future. If you are over 40, ICL will not correct reading distance, and in fact may make that distance worse (due to a condition called presbyopia), so we do not offer ICL for patients who are over 40.
Advantages Of LASIK
LASIK surgery, on the other hand, has several key advantages of its own. One of the main advantages is that it is a less invasive procedure, as the laser is used to reshape the cornea from the surface, rather than inserting a lens inside the eye. This means that there is no need for intraocular incisions, reducing the risk of infection and other complications. Also, as fast as the recovery time for ICL is, LASIK recovery is often even faster. In fact, most people experience improvement in their vision within a few hours and patients are able to return to their normal activities within a few days.
How to Make the Best Decision
So, how do you choose between ICL implantation and LASIK surgery? Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on your individual needs and preferences. If you have a complex vision problem that requires correction beyond the limits of LASIK, then ICL implantation may be the best option for you. However, if you have a more straightforward vision problem, and prefer a less invasive procedure, LASIK is likely the solution. Some patients simply may only qualify for one or the other physically as well. For further clarification on which option will meet your personal vision needs, book a free consultation with one of BCLasik’s vision counselors HERE!