What is Implantable Content Lens surgery, and am I suitable for EVO Visian treatment?

11 February 2020

Author: Kate Green

ICL staar

The A-Z of ICL


ICL stands for “Implantable Contact Lenses” and is a vision correction surgery to help people remove the need for glasses and contact lenses. While laser eye surgery might be the most popular choice for vision correction procedures in the UK, not everyone is suitable. There are a number of factors which affect your suitability for laser treatments, such as pupil size, corneal thickness and shape, and your prescription and dry eyes, to name but a few. Thankfully, with ever-advancing technology, more options are available to help a broader range of people achieve glasses- and contacts-free vision.


The ICL procedure involves placing an implantable lens made from Collamer (denatured organic collagen and polymer) into the eye, between your iris and your natural lens. It acts much the same as a normal contact lens, but instead of being on the eye’s surface, it’s inside the actual eye. This means that you don’t have to worry about forgetting to take it out, cleaning it, or rubbing your eyes.


Should your prescription or visual needs change in the future, your ICL can be removed and replaced with an updated version or left out. This means that you’re also prepared for any technological or procedural advancements, with nothing stopping you from having the latest lens implanted or surgical technique further down the line. ICL offers great flexibility with nothing permanently altered with your eye, unlike some other vision correction procedures.


Am I suitable for treatment?


ICL surgery is to treat short-sight and astigmatism in adults aged between 21 and 60 years old. The prescriptions it can work for range from:

  • Mild to severe myopia: -0.5 dioptres to -18.0 dioptres (sphere)
  • Astigmatism between 0.5 dioptres and 6.0 dioptres (cylinder)
  • Mild to severe hyeropia: +0.5 dioptres to +10.0 dioptres (sphere)


If you’re not sure how to read your prescription, take a look at our blog post on the topic. It should help you to understand whether you’re long-sighted or short-sighted, and to know which treatment might work best for you. You can also enter your details onto our suitability calculator to see if your prescription falls within our treatment parameters for ICL, laser, or lens exchange surgeries.


You might even be suitable for ICL treatment with STAAR’s EVO Visian lens if:

  • You have thin or irregularly-shaped corneas
  • You suffer from dry eyes
  • You have Keratoconus


These factors can sometimes rule you out for laser eye surgery as it either wouldn’t be safe to proceed, or it wouldn’t produce the desired visual results for you. However, with ICL procedures, we don’t operate on your cornea (the front surface of your eye) so its thickness and shape doesn’t matter as much as with laser treatment. We simply create a small 3mm incision at the base of your cornea, through which the ICL is inserted. This usually heals within a few days, while the procedure itself is completed in around 20 minutes.


However, you are unlikely to be suitable for this treatment if you fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Have cataracts or glaucoma
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, hepatitis C, diabetes, herpes or lupus
  • Have amblyopia or are blind in the other eye
  • Aged under 21 years old


If you have any questions about your suitability, it’s best to pop in to an Optimax clinic and speak to an optometrist about your options for visual correction. You can book online, call 0800 093 1110 or email enquiry@optimax.co.uk to take the first step to clear vision.


The EVO Visian ICL


STAAR Surgical is a manufacturer of lenses and their EVO Visian ICL is our choice of lens for ICL procedures at Optimax. It is ideal for people with myopia and astigmatism, while the standard Visian ICL lens is available for patients with hyperopia (long-sight). Over 1,000,000 Visian ICLs have been implanted globally, with 99.4% of patients saying that they would have the procedure again.


The EVO Visian ICL offers a range of benefits which not all ICLs have, such as:


Biocompatibility: The material from which the lens is made contains collagen, helping it to work in natural harmony with your eye.

Reduced dry eye risk: Because the ICL procedure doesn’t involve reshaping your corneal tissue, there is a much smaller risk of developing dry eyes following treatment.

Removability: Should you prescription change in the future, your ICL can be removed and replaced with an updated version. This means that you’re also prepared for any technological advancements, with nothing stopping you from having the latest lens implanted further down the line.

Night vision: Clinical studies have shown that the EVO Visian ICL provides excellent night vision, benefiting you in many areas of life, which may have been more difficult with glasses and contacts, e.g. driving in the dark.

UV protection: The Collamer material of the lens provides UV protection. UV rays can damage the eyes by bringing on a variety of eye conditions like macular degeneration, cataracts, pinguecula, and pterygium. The EVO Visian ICL helps to lower your risk for this.

Quick procedure and recovery: The treatment usually takes between 20-30 minutes and people often notice a visual difference immediately. Most patients are back to their usual routine within a few days.


The EVO surgery is performed on an outpatient basis which means that the patient has surgery and leaves the same day. The procedure itself usually takes 20-30 minutes or less. The patient will need someone to drive them home on surgery day. A light, topical or local anaesthetic is administered. There is very little discomfort during or after surgery. Some eye drops or medication may be prescribed and a visit with your eye care professional is usually scheduled the day after surgery.


If you think, based on the information above, that you might be suitable for ICL treatment, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. You can either email enquiry@optimax.co.uk or call 0800 093 1110 for further information. We look forward to seeing you for a consultation soon!

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