More than 1 million eyes in 63 countries have received an ICL implant since 1993, and the success rate is extremely high. This speaks loudly to the how safe and effective EVO ICL surgery is in providing patients with vastly improved vision.
Although EVO ICL is extremely safe and complications are rare, surgeries always come with some amount of risk. It’s important for patients to be fully informed about all the potential risks before choosing any permanent vision correction surgery.
In this article, we’ll explain the specific risks for ICL surgery using the newest EVO ICL as our benchmark.
First, an overview of what EVO ICL is …
What is an implantable Collamer lens?
An implantable Collamer lens, also known as an implantable contact lens (ICL), works by bending the light entering the cornea to properly focus on the retina.
Unlike pseudophakic intraocular lenses (IOLs), which replace the natural lens, an EVO ICL works in conjunction with the eye’s natural crystalline lens to improve vision. Each lens is selected for the specific measurements of your eye, so your doctor can help you achieve optimal visual acuity.
EVO is the latest innovation of ICL. The EVO ICL provides the same incredible visual freedom as previous iterations, but the foldable lens is designed to be a little simpler and more comfortable to insert.
What happens during EVO ICL surgery?
In order to better understand EVO ICL safety and how you can help lower your personal risks, your eye doctor will provide you with information about what to expect before surgery day, on the day of your lens implant procedure and in the surgical suite.
If you wear contact lenses, your surgeon will instruct you to remove them well ahead of time. Contact lenses can alter the curvature of your cornea, which affects the very detailed measurements used to select your lens.
Before you know it, it’s time for your life-changing EVO ICL procedure. You will need to enlist the help of a friend or family member to drive you home after surgery, since fuzzy, misty eyesight is common immediately after surgery.
The procedure itself only takes about 15 minutes total to place the lenses in both eyes. However, you should expect to be in your surgeon’s office for about three hours total. Here’s what you can expect on surgery day:
You’ll check in with a trained technician, who will go ask you to sign a consent form and other paperwork, then review the services included in the surgical fee.
EVO ICL can improve the vision of those that can’t receive LASIK.
In preparation for EVO ICL surgery, your eye doctor will do one last check of your eyes to ensure it is still safe to go ahead with the procedure. Although you won’t need to wear anything special to your appointment, you will be given a sterile blue surgical cap and shoe covers to wear during surgery.
You’ll lie on your back on a comfortable surgical table, at which time the surgical technicians will apply a topical anesthetic to numb your eyes, so you don’t feel a thing. Even though most eye surgeries are painless, it is normal to experience some anxiety during surgical preparation. If this happens, you may be provided a mild sedative to help you relax.
Your surgical team will carefully prep your eyes and clean around your eyes to remove any potential contamination.
A tool called a lid speculum will hold the eyelid open, so you don’t accidentally blink during eye surgery. While this sounds uncomfortable, you will still feel like you are blinking, just with the peace of mind knowing your lids will be out of the way.
The surgeon will fold the thin, flexible EVO ICL, carefully insert it through a small incision, then unfold the implantable lens to lie flat under the iris (the colored part of the eye) and on top of the natural lens.
Stitches are usually not required, because the eye has an amazing ability to heal.
Your eye doctor will want to check your eyes a few hours after surgery. Patients of Brinton Vision can either relax on site in a private recovery suite or let their designated driver take them to lunch or shopping until their checkup. By this time, many people already have vastly improved eyesight and can see without their glasses or contact lenses.
At your next-day follow-up appointment, your eye doctor will examine the eye to see how you’re healing. This will include an eye pressure test, a vision test and an examination to make sure healing and visual recovery are on track.
What can I do to make EVO ICL safe as possible?
The patient plays an integral part in ensuring that EVO ICL is safe and yields the best possible visual outcome. The greatest risks of any surgical procedure are infection, irritation and injury, so take steps to protect yourself.
- Leave out your contact lenses. Your eye doctor will advise you on when to remove them before surgery, but it could be anywhere from seven days to three months. Switch to wearing glasses during this time.
- On the day of surgery, wash thoroughly, including your hair. This helps reduce the risk of introducing contaminants to your vulnerable eyes while you’re healing.
- If you wear false eyelashes, please remove them. Stay makeup-free and fragrance-free on surgery day to avoid irritation.
On surgery day:
- Connect with your driver early to make sure you have a reliable ride to and from your appointment site.
- Eat a light meal on surgery day.
- You can take all of your regular medications as prescribed.
- Put on freshly washed clothing and wash your face and hands when you’re ready to leave for your procedure.
See if EVO ICL can bring you visual freedom.
- You will wear eye shields at night when sleeping to protect you from accidentally rubbing the eye.
- Watch for unusual redness, heat, discharge or vision changes that could be signs of eye infection. Report any abnormal symptoms to your eye doctors immediately.
- Avoid touching your eyes or face. Wash your hands frequently, including any time you touch your face or potentially contaminated surfaces.
- Take it easy for a while. Your eye surgeon will require you to avoid heavy lifting, rigorous physical activity and deep bending at the waist for one week after the procedure. This helps prevent pressure in the eyes that could slow the healing process or even cause damage.
- Use prescription eye drops as directed by your eye doctor. The antibiotic and steroidal drops will prevent infection and decrease inflammation. Report any unusual side effects to your eye doctor.
More FAQs about EVO ICL Surgery
Is ICL safer than LASIK?
EVO ICL has been proven safe and effective. Infection is rare, and the procedure comes with safety advantages worth considering for those who aren’t candidates for LASIK:
- Unlike LASIK, EVO ICL can be removed if necessary.
- ICLs don’t worsen or cause dry eye syndrome.
- EVO ICL is designed to offer superb day and night vision.
- ICLs often provide sharper vision than other vision correction surgery options.
LASIK is currently the gold standard in vision correction for most people. However, for those who are not suitable candidates for LASIK, implantable Collamer lenses offer excellent correction for people with high myopia (nearsightedness, or better near vision) and astigmatism (distorted vision).
It’s worth noting that LASIK can be used after EVO ICL surgery for enhancements, or follow-up corrections, required in the rare event of undercorrection or overcorrection from the ICL. If a patient experiences mild myopia or hyperopia an enhancement is usually performed about three months after the initial surgery, when the eyes have completely healed, and your eye doctor knows the full extent of any residual vision problems.
“So, why not use LASIK in the first place?” you may be asking yourself. It’s because of the limitations of LASIK: LASIK is excellent for treating mild nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, but it can’t fix the high degree of refractive error that EVO ICL can. The minimal undercorrection or overcorrection left behind in rare instances after implantable lens procedures is where LASIK truly shines.
What are the risks or complications that occur with EVO ICL surgery?
As with any ICL surgery or refractive surgery, EVO ICL comes with a small risk of eye infection, though this is extremely rare when the procedure is performed by a skilled surgeon in a sterile environment with post-operative care.
Because EVO ICL is an additive procedure – meaning the lens corrects vision without the removal of corneal tissue or the natural lens – it is considered less invasive than LASIK surgery, which works by reshaping the cornea. The ICL lens is placed behind the iris (the colored part of the eye) increasing the risk of damage to the iris or the cornea.
To date, there is no evidence to suggest increased risks of endothelial cell loss or cataracts with a biocompatible lens implant when compared to LASIK.
In the event of cataract formation later in life, cataracts can be easily removed with cataract surgery. Your eye doctor can determine how to factor in an implanted lens, such as EVO ICL or phakic intraocular lens (IOL) at that time.
Will I see rings of lights or halos after EVO ICL surgery?
EVO ICLs can provide excellent night vision. Some patients, however, may experience an increase in nighttime halos, glare and starbursts especially during the immediate healing period. Most ICL patients happily accept the risk of halos for the safety of seeing more clearly at night.
Do the benefits of EVO ICL surgery outweigh the risks?
EVO ICL surgery is considered extremely safe and highly effective for correcting high refractive errors. Any surgery comes with risk, but the exceptional success rate of ICLs makes the risk acceptable for most people, who can navigate their world more safely with sharper vision and free of contact lenses.
EVO ICL can improve the vision of those that can’t receive LASIK.
Is EVO ICL surgery FDA approved?
The EVO Implantable Collamer® Lens created by STAAR Surgical received approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in March of 2022, but has been used for years in Europe before now. Brinton Vision has performed hundreds of ICL procedures using STAAR’s previous method, and is thrilled to now offer EVO ICL to their patients. This latest technology is designed to be more comfortable and easier to insert.
Who is the best candidate for EVO ICL surgery?
An eye examination with an eye doctor can tell you what vision correction services are best for your eyes, but some people make better candidates for EVO implantable contact lenses than others.
EVO may be right for you if you:
- Are between 20 and 49 years of age.
- Have a high refractive error such as myopia (between -3.0 diopters and -15.0 diopters).
- Are not a candidate for LASIK due to a thin cornea.
- Have had a stable prescription (within 0.5 diopters) for at least one year.
- Are informed about the benefits and risks of treatment and ready to say goodbye to contacts and glasses (visit the Brinton Vision website for information about EVO ICL and other vision correction surgery options).
As with any surgery, speak with your eye doctor or other eye care professional about your own vision needs and goals to be sure EVO ICL is the right procedure for you.
Brinton Vision and ICL
EVO ICL lenses have been used safely and effectively in countries worldwide, have finally received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Brinton Vision leads the nation in providing this exciting LASIK alternative to our patients.
The process starts with the Brinton Vision Ocular Analysis (BVOA), a thorough eye examination in which we use the most advanced technology to capture detailed images and map every feature of the eye. This helps Brinton Vision tailor your surgery precisely to your eyes, needs, goals and lifestyle.
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 here: https://brintonvision.com.
Want to learn more about EVO ICL? Dr. Brinton spoke with Show Me St. Louis about the procedure. See the interview here.