When we think of being free from the hassles of eyeglasses and contact lenses, we immediately think of LASIK or laserassisted in situ keratomileusis.
Lasik is a laser procedure that can correct refractive errors or more commonly known as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and/or presbyopia. It works by reshaping the cornea (the clear, dome-shaped layer of the eye), so that light focuses on the retina (the back part of the eye), allowing you to see clearly.
But did you know there is another type of surgery that can correct these refractive errors, specifically nearsightedness and astigmatism?
Implantable contact lenses (ICLs) provide clear, sharp vision and better color perception. These function like regular contact lenses, but instead of putting them on the cornea, these are inserted into the eye. Thus, there is no need for it to be removed, cleaned or maintained every day.
“There is nothing to worry about getting ICLs,” stresses Asian Eye Institute cornea and refractive surgery service director Dr. Robert Ang. “The lens is produced with high-quality materials, including collamer. The collider is a collagen copolymer that is biocompatible, which means that it will not cause any reaction inside the eye.
“The lens is also designed to be soft and flexible, which will allow you to see clearly but not feel it is there. And the best part is, it is FDA-approved, so we can be sure that these implantable contact lenses have been proven safe and effective,” Ang adds.
How do you know ICL is for you?
“Anyone with an active lifestyle and are tired of wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses can undergo ICL procedure,” says Ang. “But we highly recommend it to those who are over 18 years old, are not pregnant or nursing, have a high degree of nearsightedness, a thin or irregularly-shaped cornea and chronic dry eyes.
“All patients who will do the ICL procedure must undergo screening. It is a series of tests that checks not only the eye grade, but also the overall condition of the eyes. This is very important, so we can achieve our patients’ visual goals. We also want to make sure that our patients’ eyes are healthy and are free from any eye conditions like glaucoma or retinal problems, which may be affecting their vision.”
An outpatient procedure, the ICL procedure takes around 10 minutes to 15 minutes per eye and has minimal downtime.
Ang explains: “ICL patients usually experience clear vision after surgery. You can actually have the surgery done today and get back to work after a day of rest. Just make sure you go back to the clinic for your oneday, one-week and one-month postoperative checkups.”
Ang is a Harvard-trained and multi-awarded surgeon and an active researcher. He has been recognized by several local and international organizations, such as the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology, Asia-Pacific Association of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, American Academy of Ophthalmology, and American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. A key opinion leader, he has published several journals and has been invited to give lectures at different conventions.