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Are there risks to ICL implantation?

No surgical procedure is risk-free. There are potential complications associated with the surgery itself. These include: irritation of the conjunctiva, corneal swelling, eye infection, non-reactive pupil and irritation of the iris. In the vast majority of cases, these complications are short term, transient in nature, and will be treated by the doctor performing the surgery.

Other complications that can occur are associated with the correction of your vision; these include: halo and/or glare around lights, under or over correction of your vision (which may require retreatment), and induction of higher order aberrations that can impact quality of vision. Again, the vast majority of these complications will be treated by the doctor performing your surgery. The Visian ICL procedure does not cause or worsen dry eye and the lens can be removed if needed.

Early complications reported at the time of surgery or within the first week after Visian ICL surgery include: removal and reinsertion of the Visian ICL at the time of initial surgery; removal or replacement of the Visian ICL after surgery; pupillary block resulting in raised eye pressure, which may necessitate the creation of an additional peripheral iridotomy to improve fluid flow, or by clearing the iridotomy made prior to implantation of the lens.

Potential Complications that can occur after the first week post surgery: The proximity of the ICL to the natural crystalline lens raises the possibility of the development of small cloudy areas or opacities on your natural crystalline lens, which may or may not cause visual symptoms. In a very limited number of cases (1.7% of eyes that received an ICL at seven-year follow-up in the US FDA Study) these opacities can become more widespread and develop into a cataract. Most cataracts occurred in those with very high myopia (> -15.0 Diopters). Experience also suggests that the development of visually significant cataracts is somewhat higher in patients who receive an ICL above age 46 (“off FDA label”). However, cataracts are considered far easier to fix than corneal complications following LASIK surgery.

Other complications include an increase in the rate of endothelial cell loss (a loss that occurs naturally with age) from the back surface of the cornea (which may require lens explantation and could result in a corneal transplant) and an increase in the pressure inside of the eye (post-op drops are used to minimize pressure increase).

Current evidence supports ICLs as being a very effective option for most patients who are suitable candidates. Your doctor will provide a more thorough discussion of the risks and benefits of this procedure during your office visit. With this information, you can make an informed decision about choosing this or other options available to reduce or eliminate your myopia (nearsightedness).