EVO ICL, the latest evolution in implantable contact lenses, is designed for greater comfort and easier lens placement in front of the natural lens. This provides patients with quick visual recovery and optimal visual outcomes. The visual recovery occurs at a slightly different pace for everyone but, in general, will follow a predictable pattern.

ICL eye surgery is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that doesn’t require general anesthesia, so you’ll be able to get up and move around as soon as the surgery is complete. Visual recovery with implantable contact lenses is fast too, and most people experience noticeable improvement right away. Often, patients are surprised to be able to read the wall clock on their way out of the medical suite.

Most people are able to resume work and other regular activities the very next day and continue to experience further improvement over the course of the first week after surgery. In the meantime, antibiotic and steroid eye drops will assist in the healing process.

Complete visual recovery from EVO ICL will naturally vary from one person to another, but most patients are free of glasses and contacts within a day. Keep in mind, however, that the eyes are still healing, even though vision is better than ever. It’s normal to experience minor fluctuations in vision during the recovery period, but your doctor can prescribe or adjust eye drop prescriptions to address symptoms and their causes.

Follow up with your eye doctor as recommended the day of and day after surgery, as well as any additional checkups your eye doctor deems necessary to keep healing on track.

EVO ICL can improve the vision of those that can’t receive LASIK.

Additional FAQs about EVO ICL RECOVERY

Will my eyes hurt after ICL surgery?

Most patients experience little to no discomfort during or after surgery. Your doctor will use topical or local anesthetic eye drops to prevent you from feeling pain during the procedure, and there should be little to no discomfort after the drops wear off.

Implantable contact lenses produce less irritation than LASIK surgery in large part because, instead of altering the cornea as LASIK does, the EVO ICL is positioned in front of the natural lens behind the iris (the colored part of the eye) through just a small corneal incision.

Complications from EVO ICL eye surgery are rare and usually minor, but eye pain, blurred vision, or nausea in the days after the procedure can be an indicator of increased eye pressure.

ICL patients should keep all follow-up appointments so the eye doctor can monitor your level of comfort and address any possible complications. These follow-up appointments are usually performed the same day, the next day, a week after, three months after, and then yearly exams.

How is pain managed after my Implantable Collamer Lens procedure?

You shouldn’t experience pain during or after an EVO ICL procedure, but some patients report minor discomfort, which is generally relieved by OTC pain medications.

In the unlikely event of surgical complications, your eye doctor will address the source of your symptoms to provide quick relief. This is why the post-operative appointments are so important.

Most patients don’t experience worsening of dry eyes, and are completely healed without complication by the time their 3-month follow up visit rolls around.

What are the do’s and don’ts after EVO ICL surgery?

Most importantly, patients should avoid driving or operating heavy machinery for at least 24 hours after implantable contact lenses surgery. For this reason, patients are required to have someone pick them up from their surgical appointment.

In addition to getting home safely after surgery, there are several other do’s and don’ts to follow after receiving implantable contact lenses:


Do … Pack your shades. Your pupils will be dilated for ICL eye surgery, so come prepared with dark, UV-blocking sunglasses to protect them from the uncomfortable glare of light. A dilation reversing medication is used at the end of the procedure, but can take some time to take effect.

Do … Take things easy. Plan on kicking back at home for the first 24 hours after surgery to get your visual recovery off to a good start. You can usually resume driving within a day, return to regular workouts after one week, and be fully recovered three months at most.

Do … Use the eye shields provided by your surgeon while sleeping at night to protect your eyes from accidental rubbing or injury to the cornea for the first week. The surgical technicians at Brinton Vision provide instructions to every patient for their use.

Do … Keep follow-up appointments with your eye doctor. Your surgeon will schedule you for follow-up examinations a few hours after your procedure and the morning after surgery.

Do … Contact your doctor immediately if you experience pain, pressure, redness, irritation or other symptoms that could signal complications.


Don’t … Swim, use a hot tub or participate in watersports for at least a week. A cool dip or a hot soak may be tempting, but it’s important to avoid contact with anything that could harbor bacteria that could cause infection. The risk of infection is greatest in the first 48 hours after getting EVO implantable contact lenses, but doctors generally recommend staying out of the water for one week.

Don’t … Rub or bump your eyes. Eyes heal quickly after ICL, but rubbing and sudden impacts can disrupt visual recovery or damage your eyes.

Don’t … Wear makeup. Specifically, don’t wear the mascara, eyeliner and eye shadow lingering in your makeup bag for at least one week after EVO ICL. Other makeup (foundation, blush, setting powder) is fine, as long as it doesn’t come in contact with your eyes.

Don’t … Perform heavy lifting that causes neck veins to bulge or face to turn red for one week after surgery. This helps prevent pressure on your eyes from interfering with healing.

See which vision correction procedure is best for your vision journey.

Can I rub my eyes after EVO ICL surgery?

It’s never a good idea to rub your eyes, but it’s especially not recommended after ICL eye surgery. Rubbing can create microscopic damage to the surface of the eye that can prevent proper healing – or even cause injury.

If you’ve had EVO ICL or any other implantable contact lens, follow your eye surgeon’s post-surgical instructions. That includes special prescription eye drops, mild activity restrictions, and an eye shield to protect the cornea while it heals. Soothe any eye irritation with non-preservative artificial tears.

How long until I can drive after ICL eye surgery?

How soon you can drive after EVO ICL eye surgery can vary greatly, from one day to several. Your eye doctor will require you to have a friend or family member drive you on the day of surgery and will advise you on when you can get behind the wheel again.

At the very least, expect to stay off the road and away from heavy equipment for a minimum of 24 hours. For some patients, the post-surgical blurriness can linger for several days, so don’t drive until you have your surgeon’s clearance, and it is completely safe for you to do so.

Can I swim after my EVO ICL vision correction procedure?

Eventually, but stay out of the pool, hot tub or swimming hole for at least one week after EVO ICL. These bodies of waters can harbor bacteria that could cause infection. For the same reason, avoid getting water in your eyes during a shower or bath for the first week.

Infection is extremely rare after implantable contact lens surgery, due in large part to precautions our surgeons take to protect against it. At Brinton Vision, all procedures are performed in a completely sterile environment, and the eye is also sterilized before surgery. Our doctors use antibiotics after surgery and require patients to obtain antibiotic drops to use after surgery for one week. 

After my EVO ICL procedure, how long until I can expect to gain clear vision?

Many patients experience dramatically improved vision immediately after EVO ICL eye surgery. While it is normal to have some haziness for the first few days or longer as your eyes heal, most people achieve 20/20 or better vision within a day of the procedure.

Brinton Vision has a long-standing, close partnership with STAAR Surgical Company, the maker of EVO ICL, that has paved the way for our doctors to lead the U.S. in providing this exciting alternative to LASIK surgery. To date, more than 1 million ICL procedures have been performed worldwide with a 99% success rate. 

What does ICL stand for?

EVO ICL works with the natural lens of the eye without altering the natural lens. A surgeon will fold the lens and implant it via a tiny incision in the cornea and ensure the ICL unfolds into its proper position behind the iris.

ICL stands for Implantable Collamer® Lens, sometimes called an implantable contact lens, that is used to treat high myopia (nearsightedness). Collamer® consists of a natural collagen co-polymer and a plastic that is similar to the material used in soft contact lenses. As a result, Collamer is biocompatible, meaning it is stable and will not cause a reaction in the body.

For people with severe nearsightedness who are ready to ditch prescription glasses and contact lenses, refractive vision correction can offer visual freedom.

But refractive surgery is a big life decision: it is, after all, a surgical procedure and as such requires careful consideration of benefits, risks, cost and recovery. With implantable lenses becoming more popular for vision correction, the doctors at Brinton Vision get many questions about the length of time it takes to recover from EVO ICL eye surgery in particular.


Brinton Vision is proud to be among the first to provide EVO ICL in the United States and excited to offer more solutions to our patients than any other LASIK surgery center in the St. Louis area. If you are curious if this could be the right procedure for you, feel free to call 314.375.2020 or book online.

Want to learn more about EVO ICL? Read the next article in our EVO ICL series: Is EVO ICL Surgery Safe?

Dr. Jason P. Brinton is an internationally recognized specialist in the field of LASIK and refractive surgery. He is a graduate of Harvard College, earned his medical doctorate from the Harvard Medical School and is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology.