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Life Without Glasses

Dr. Robert Maloney believes that a well-informed patient is key to successful vision correction surgery. He wants to be sure that you fully understand what you can expect from your procedure you choose.

He wants to help you care for and preserve your eyesight in the best way possible. Here, you can find the information that you need to help you make informed choices about health care for your eyes.

Undergoing the ICL Procedure

The ICL procedure is somewhat more involved than LASIK, so most doctors, including me, have an anesthesiologist present to provide twilight anesthesia. This means you will get medications through an IV that make you very relaxed but not completely unconscious. This ensures you will be comfortable during the procedure.

Before the Procedure

A few days to a week before the ICL surgery, your doctor will have you come into the office to make a peripheral iridotomy. This is a tiny hole made with a laser at the edge of your iris (the colored part of the eye). The peripheral iridotomy allows fluid to circulate freely in the eye after the ICL is in place. The normal eye is filled with fluid that is made in the back part of the eye, behind the iris. The fluid flows through the pupil to the front part of the eye, where it drains out. The ICL is placed right behind the pupil so it can block this normal flow of fluid, which can allow pressure to build up in the back of the eye. The peripheral iridotomy allows fluid to flow normally to the front part of the eye, bypassing the pupil.

Making the peripheral iridotomy takes a couple of minutes per eye. You place your chin on a chin rest while the doctor operates the laser. You will feel mild momentary discomfort during the laser shot, but there is no need for anesthesia, an IV, or sedation. You can drive home immediately afterward.

How the Procedure Is Performed

You’ll be asked to arrive at the surgery center about an hour prior to your ICL procedure. The nurse starts an IV and dilates your eyes. It is important not to eat for six hours prior to the procedure. Make sure all makeup is cleaned off your eye and face before you come in. You won’t be able to drive immediately after the procedure, so you will need to arrange for someone to drive you to the surgery center and pick you up when you’re ready to leave. You should plan to spend about two hours at the center.

Before the surgery begins, your face is cleaned with a disinfectant, and a surgical cap is placed over your hair. You are given eyedrops to numb the eyes, which may sting for a few seconds. Once in the operating room, you are positioned comfortably lying on a surgical bed. The anesthesiologist gives you sedation through your IV. More numbing eyedrops are given. The surgeon then does the procedure, which takes about seven minutes per eye. You are awake but sedated, so you aren’t nervous and don’t feel pain.

Most people have both eyes done on the same day, to avoid an additional trip to the surgery center and the odd imbalance of having one eye seeing well and the other still very poor. The choice is yours, however. You can elect to let the first eye heal for a week or two before returning for the second eye. Although the ICL procedure is very safe, some people are nervous that something bad could happen to both eyes, so they are more confident knowing that the first eye is fine before having the second eye done.

After the procedure, your vision is hazy because your eyes are still dilated, but you immediately notice that you can see much better. You can read a clock across the room. Once the anesthetic has worn off, in about twenty minutes, you can go home. You will be sent home with various eyedrops, including dilating drops and anti-inflammatory drops to promote healing.

Recovering from the ICL Procedure »

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