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What is ICL?

ICL, also known as Implantable Contact Lens, is used to correct vision for eyes with high refractive errors (near or farsightedness, with or without astigmatism), and especially if the cornea is unsuitable for laser refractive surgery. At SNEC, the Visian Implantable Contact Lens (Staar Surgical Company, USA) is available.

The Visian ICL is able to correct myopia of -3.0 D to -20.0 D (US FDA approved). Toric models, which can correct both myopia and astigmatism simultaneously, are also available, eliminating the need for subsequent procedures to correct astigmatism.
Who is suitable?

Patients with refractive errors who are not suitable for LASIK e.g. those who have very high myopia and / or those with thin corneas.

What are the advantages?

Since the cornea is not changed by the procedure, therefore there is no corneal related problems, dry eyes and issues with cataract surgery and glaucoma management, should there be any, in the future. Higher powers of hyperopia, myopia and astigmatic correction is possible.

The ICL Process

The ICL is a one-piece foldable intraocular lens, which is implanted just in front of the natural crystalline lens as a 10-minute, day surgery procedure. This ICL is inserted through a stitchless, small corneal incision allowing fast visual rehabilitation, high quality (high definition) vision, thus eliminating the need for hospital admissions.

What is the ICL?
ICL stands for Implantable Contact Lens. It is a foldable lens that is inserted through a small opening in the cornea into the eye, to greatly improve vision. It is safe, effective and reversible, and its main advantage is that it does not change the shape or thickness of the cornea.

What is a phakic intraocular lens?
The ICL is a type of phakic intraocular lens that is placed in the eye without removing the eyes natural crystalline lens to correct refractive errors. Phakic intraocular lens surgery is a safe and effective alternative for patients whose corneas are not suitable for LASIK.

Can you explain the entire process to me?
  • The implantation of an ICL is an intraocular surgery that can be performed as an outpatient procedure.
  • Two weeks before the surgery, a small opening is created at the top of the iris (which is invisible to the naked eye) to allow better aqueous flow in the eye. This is performed by a painless, quick, non-invasive laser procedure at SNEC.
  • On the day of surgery, most patients will be operated under anaesthesic eyedrops and mild sedation. However others may prefer general anaesthesia.
  • During the surgery, a small opening is made in the cornea and the ICL is inserted into the eye with a special injector.
  • The lens is placed behind the iris and in front of the eyes natural lens.
  • The procedure takes around 10 to 15 minutes for each eye. Most patients find the procedure pain-free and easy to tolerate.
  • After the surgery, the patient will be observed for 2-4 hours before they are allowed to go home.
  • The procedure is very similar to cataract surgery that has been safely practised for decades worldwide.
How do I know it is suitable for me?
It is suitable for patients who are at least 21 years of age, have myopia up to -20.00 diopters (2,000 degrees) with or without astigmatism. You should not be pregnant or have significant active ophthalmic conditions like glaucoma, iritis or diabetic eye disease. The doctor will be able to better advise you after a comprehensive pre-operative examination and assessment at the SNEC Laser Vision Centre. Please contact us if you would like to have more information or would like to schedule an appointment.

Why is it more expensive than LASIK?
The ICL is customized to your prescription and the lens is tailor-made for you. This intraocular procedure requires a few more pre-operative assessments, the use of an operating theatre, and anaesthetic support.

How long has it been in the market?
It has been in the market for more than 10 years and published clinical trials with long term results have shown ICL to be safe and effective. The US FDA approved its use in December 2005 for myopia. It has been used in Singapore since 2005.

I still think LASIK is better since all my friends had done LASIK. How do I know I can trust this new procedure?
LASIK is a proven and safe procedure, but not everyone qualifies for it. The ICL is cornea conserving which means that for some patients whose corneas are unsuitable for LASIK, ICL may be an option.

Is it safe?
The risks are generally low. However, as this is an intraocular procedure, the risk is slightly higher than laser refractive surgery like LASIK.

What are the possible complications?
The most serious complication is infection resulting in permanent decrease in visual acuity. Infection of the intraocular tissues or endophthalmitis, although rare, is a potentially sight-threatening complication. The risks are similar to those of cataract surgery.

Complications include a rise of pressure in the eye soon after surgery. However, this complication is uncommon and can be managed by eyedrops and/or oral medication. Other potential but much less common problems include, but are not limited to, retinal detachment, cataract, corneal decompensation and glaucoma.

Can the ICL be seen by the naked eye?

No. It is clear and cannot be seen by the naked eye.

What happens when I get lau hua ( Presbyopia) later on?
The ICLs will not prevent or delay the onset of presbyopia. You may still need reading glasses when you develop presbyopia. If you are already in your forties you can decide with your surgeon to opt for monovision which can give you good far and also good near vision.

How many people have used this?
Over 100,000 ICL procedures have been performed worldwide.

Is it approved in Singapore?
Yes. It has been used in SNEC since 2005. It is approved for use in USA, Europe and in 45 countries.

Can I remove the lens if I change my mind in future?
It can be removed in the same way it was implanted. However, this will require another intraocular surgery with its attendant risks.

What happens when I develop cataract later?
This procedure does not prevent or slow down cataract formation. However if a cataract operation is required, the ICL can be removed safely, and a normal cataract surgery can be performed. A new intraocular lens inserted for cataract surgery can correct the inherent refractive error but not the presbyopia.

Will the lens affect my healthy tissues?
No. The composition material is highly biocompatible. The ICL lens is made from a technologically advanced material, called Collamer, which is made of collagen and copolymer. The advanced lens material is easily accepted by the eye.

Why should I have my ICL implantation performed at SNEC?

At SNEC, the ICL procedure is performed by our team of experienced and skilled surgeons. SNEC has a set of strict guidelines and you can be assured that we perform stringent assessments, high quality surgery and provide excellent aftercare.

At the SNEC Laser Vision Centre, we are committed to providing quality and accessible ophthalmic eye care. Our rates are deliberated with the patient in mind.

For more information on financial options, please call 6322 8891.

We accept payment by Cash, NETS (Subject to daily limit), debit and credit cards.

Description Price with 7%GST (per eye)
Pre-Consultation S$109.14
(Senior Consultant)
ICL Suitability Assessment S$214.00
ICL Surgery S$6,131.10 to S$6,837.30
  • Prices indicated are correct as of 9th February 2015 and may be subject to change without prior notice.
  • Price applicable for Singaporean, Permanent Resident and Employment Pass/Work Permit Holder, Dependent Pass Holder or Long Term Visit Pass - Plus Holder.
  • A surcharge is applicable for Social Visit Pass Holder, Student Pass Holder, Long Term Visit Pass Holder and Tourists.

Singapore National Eye Centre
11 Third Hospital Avenue
Singapore 168751
Mondays - Fridays 8.30am to 5.30pm
Saturdays 8.30am to 12.30pm
Sundays & Public Holidays - No clinic Session

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