Everything You Need To Know About Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL) Treatment

Implantable Collamer lens (ICL) surgery is a procedure used for treating poor eyesight due to refractive errors by implanting a Collamer lens into the eye. This eye surgery might be possible for individuals who do not meet the necessary criteria for LASIK surgery. People who cannot have laser eye surgery may be good candidates for ICL. On this page, we will explore implantable collamer lens surgery in details, such as what is implantable collamer lens surgery, how to prepare for implantable collamer lens surgery, what are the complications of implantable collamer lens surgery, who are the best doctors for implantable collamer lens surgery in India, which are the top hospitals for implantable collamer lens surgery in India, and much more.

Dr. Mohammad Afzal Siddiqui

Review By Dr. Mohammad Afzal Siddiqui
Award-winning CEO of Marlin Medical Assistance Pvt. Ltd

Mar 4, 2024

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What is implantable Collamer lens (ICL) surgery?

What is implantable Collamer lens (ICL) surgery?

Implantable collamer lens (ICL) surgery is procedure to implant an artificial lens permanently in the eye. The lens is used to treat eye problems such as hyperopia (farsightedness), myopia (nearsightedness), and astigmatism. An eye surgeon places the lens between the natural lens of the eye and colored iris. The lens works by making the eye’s existing lens to bend light on the retina, which helps produce clearer vision. The ICL is composed of plastic material and a collagen known as collamer.  Although ICL surgery is not necessary to correct vision issues, it can reduce or eliminate the need for glasses and contact lenses. It is also an alteative for individuals who cannot get laser eye surgery. The procedure generally takes 20-30 minutes.

Types of implantable collamer lens

ICL Soft Lens: A soft lens is made of a polymeric material which can bend easily. The design of the lens is similar to the collagen found in the coea. Therefore, it has less risks of an adverse reaction. During soft lens implantation, the eye surgeon will cut a small incision in the coea, and then place the ICL inside the eye, between the iris and lens. No stitches are required.

Intraocular Lens: This ICL surgery is meant for the patients who do not fulfill the required all the criteria for Lasik surgery because of nearsightedness. For this surgery, the eye surgeon will place the lens between iris and coea to enable the eyes focus better.

Causes and Symptoms


  • Genetics
  • Prolonged close-up activities
  • Screen time
  • Environmental conditions
  • Short eyeball


  • Blurry vision
  • Headache
  • Eyestrain
  • Poor night vision
  • Distortion of vision


Phoroptor test: This test involves reading an eye chart by looking through a device with different lenses to determine an appropriate prescription to treat vision problems.

Visual acuity test: A visual acuity test determines how sharp is your vision at a distance. One eye is covered, and the eye doctor asks tells to read an eye chart with different sized symbols and letters. You do the same exercise for the other eye. Special charts are available for very young children.

Retinal exam: The doctor pours drops in the eyes to widen the pupils. This helps them have a good look at the retina and get a better view of the eye problem.

Risk & Complications

Glaucoma: If the ICL is oversized, it may increase pressure in the eye. This migt lead to a condition known as glaucoma.

Vision loss: If high eye pressure persists for too long, there can be vision loss.

Early cataracts: An ICL might reduce the circulation of eye fluid, which increases the risk of cataracts. This can also occur if the ICL is not properly sized or may cause chronic inflammation.

Blurry vision: Blurry vision can occur if the lens is not of the correct size.

Cloudy coea: Eye surgery reduces the number of endothelial cells in the coea. If the cells decrease  fast, you may develop cloudy coea or vision loss.

Retinal detachment: Eye surgery can also raise the risk of retina detaching from its actual position. While this is a rare complication, it requires emergency attention.

Eye infection: This can lead to permanent vision loss.

Additional surgery: Another surgery may be needed to remove the lens and cure related issues.

Preparation of Treatment

On the day of ICL surgery, you must take a shower and wash the hair as you will be asked to keep water out of the eyes for a few days after the procedure. Make sure you don’t wear any false eyelashes or any kind of makeup and fragrance as they can cause irritation that may affect surgery. Avoid putting on acrylic nails ad nail polish a day before the surgery. One relative or friend should accompany the patients. Eye shield should be placed to prevent any infection and eye scratching. Medications that affect coagulation process must be discontinued around 7 to10 days before the surgery, or as suggested. If any abnormal symptoms are experienced before the day of surgery, these must be informed to the ophthalmologists at the earliest.

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Recovery after implantable collamer lens surgery

Recovery after implantable collamer lens surgery is quick. Within the first day, 75% to 85% of patients have their vision restored and even achieve the driving standard. The vision will continue to mature and sharpen slowly. Within 3-4 weeks, the patient will have the final outcomes. For the first few days, the eye feels a little gritty and uncomfortable. However, the ICL recovery time may vary among individuals. The eye surgeon advises patients on what to do during the recovery days. This might include changing the frequency of the eye drops.

Dr. Mohammad Afzal Siddiqui

Written by

Dr. Mohammad Afzal Siddiqui

Award-winning CEO of Marlin Medical Assistance Pvt. Ltd

Dr. Mohammad Afzal Siddiqui is an award-winning CEO of Marlin Medical Assistance Pvt. Ltd., a professionally managed medical tourism holding company and the active Director of Alshifa Healthcare Services Pvt. Ltd., a full-service medical tourism aggregation agency servicing JCI and NABH/ NABL accredited Hospitals across the country’s 5 locations.

In addition to Marlin, Alshifa also includes Media Group, which houses Arabic Medical Tourism e-Magazine healthandtour.com. The E-magazine “مجلة الصحة والسياحة” provides a wide scope of medical tourism information to healthcare travellers to find a safe, effective and cost-saving solution for their medical and healthcare needs. In addition to running E-Magazine, Dr. Mohammad Afzal also serves as Delhi-state coordinator in Foundation of Healthcare and Wellness Promotion focused on bringing India’s Healthcare closer to the world and smoothen world’s access to Indian Healthcare.

Frequently Asked Questions About Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL)

There is a possibility that some nearsightedness remains after surgery, especially for those who have severe degrees of myopia. In such cases, an additional laser vision correction surgery might be done to further improve the vision the eyesight has stabilized for a few months after the lens implant.

While most insurance providers does consider implantable collamer lens surgery elective, some might provide a some benefits which can help save the cost of the surgery. In most cases, health insurance companies generally do not provide coverage for the treatment. But, some insurance companies could provide coverage if the procedure is considered medically necessary.

ICL is highly effective at treating some refractive vision errors, such as astigmatism. The procedure provide nearly the same vision benefits of using contact lenses but without any possible discomfort and restrictions that are experienced with wearing contacts.
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