The Eye Clinic: Implantable Contact Lenses

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Is this how you see the world too?

How your world looks like when you are without your contact lens/glasses

Don't worry, you're not alone. I am blind as a bat without my contact lens or spectacles.

Fortunately I recently learnt of a solution that can help us to achieve perfectly clear vision so that we can dive, climb, run or jump with an ease of mind.

Introducing to you...

Implantable Contact Lens (also known as "ICL" for short) is a lens made out of collamer — a material which is similar to collagen, thus making it biocompatible for humans and acceptable by our body.

Unlike LASIK which alters the shape of the cornea by thinning the corneal tissue, ICL is easily inserted into the eye behind the iris through a tiny self-healing wound of 2.5mm. The whole surgery takes about 10-15 minutes and the recovery period takes about 1-2 days. Patients can expect to read on their iPad or watch television within in the same day!

We all know about LASIK. We have seen the blog posts done by several popular bloggers on how their surgical procedure went and the benefits that they are now reaping from their perfect vision. And without a single doubt, this thought is going to wander into your mind...

Why ICL and not LASIK?

Now, here's why:

  1. ICL is a reversible surgical procedure that does no damage to your eyes

    In a person with normal vision the tip of their cornea is flattened; whereas in a person with short-sightedness, the tip of their cornea is curved due to increased optical pressure. The principle of LASIK is to flatten the cornea by thinning it. This action damages the cornea.

    ICL on the other hand inserts a Collamer lens into your eye which helps to refract the angle of light so that it can properly reach your retina thus bringing you clear vision. It works based on the same principle as your normal contact lens or spectacles!

  2. ICL brings higher quality vision

    Tsilklis and his team of authors did a study in 2007, where they got results from a 21 year old female patient who underwent two surgeries nine years ago — LASIK surgery in her left eye and ICL implantation in her right eye. The patient reported less night vision problems, better quality of vision, stability and satisfaction score in the eye with the ICL as compared to the eye which underwent LASIK.

    In LASIK, the shaving across the cornea of the eye reduces the quality of vision by causing glare and haloes. In ICL, the cornea is not scratched at all thus guaranteeing higher visual quality.

  3. ICL will not result in dry eyes

    During LASIK surgery, the nerves within the cornea which are responsible for stimulating tear production are also cut in the process. This is why post-LASIK patients suffer from the side-effect of dry eyes.

    Coincidentally on the day of the event, we had a fellow participant who had undergone LASIK before. Dr Cheryl Lee asked if he be suffering from dry eyes as a result of his LASIK surgery, and he commented back "I have severe dry eyes."

    In ICL, the nerves in the cornea are left intact thus the symptom of dry eyes is not a concern. This in turn translates to more comfortability, no red eyes and better vision! Yay!

Have you ever heard from anyone of how someone they knew complained of losing their perfect vision again after having done LASIK? There is an explanation for that occurrence.

In layman terms, LASIK cuts away the surface of their cornea so as to make it flat again, thus allowing them to regain their clear vision. However after some time — and perhaps due to fate being the perfect bitch — the pressure within their eyes increases again thus causing the cornea to bulge out and the surface forms a convex shape once again.

People with perfect vision have flat corneas. People with myopia (short-sightnedness) have convex corneas.

So yes, fuck their lives but that is how post-LASIK people lose their perfect vision (again).

This occurrence however will never occur for ICL as the process is REVERSIBLE and individuals can easily REPLACE their lenses to one of a higher degree if necessary.

Implantable Contact Lenses

With everything good, it comes with a down side as well. I would be lying through my teeth if I said that ICL had no risks!

But here is the thing, the risks from ICL are PREVENTABLE!!

One of the risks of ICL is infection, which stands at 0.01%.

The other risks related with ICL is the development of either cataract (if the lens is too small) or glaucoma (if the lens is too small) when your tear ducts are blocked. Both risks are largely preventable with the use of an ultrasound which accurately measure the size of your eyes and ensures that your ICL is customised to fit YOUR eyes without blocking the tear ducts!

Ultrasound of eye without ICL implanted

Ultrasound of eye with ICL implanted

At the moment, there are 4 ultrasound machines (specifically used for the eyes) in Singapore, and the EyeClinic owns TWO of them! So you know for sure that your ICL will be made to fit your eyes!

If your vision changes at any point in time, the ICL can be easily removed and replaced as the procedure is as said before, reversible.

The surgery takes about 5 minutes per eye and one can choose to have it performed under local anaesthesia (and know everything that is going on during the surgery) or general anaesthesia (which would knock you out like a baby)!

ICL can correct up to 1900 degrees for short-sightedness, up to 1000 degrees for long-sightedness, and up to 600 degrees for astigmatism!

Despite ICL being suitable for most people, a suitability screening test has to be performed beforehand so as to ensure that one has sufficient anterior chamber depth within the eye for the ICL to be inserted. This is measured by a rapid, non-contact and painless scan at the clinics and the results are delivered instantly!

Having my retina scanned

My retina scan result

The Implantable Contact Lens™ Screening is available at $98 only and the assessments done are similar to tests like the retina scan that I did (as shown above) which has nil contact, is pain free and most results can be derived immediately!

An alternative to Implantable Contact Lenses is...


Washing the Ortho-K lenses

Orthokeratology (otherwise known as "Ortho-K") uses an extremely high oxygen permeable contact lens to temporarily reshape the cornea.

The contact lenses are worn while sleeping and taken out after you are awake, and that temporarily corrects one's vision in the day. This removes the need for daytime contact lenses and spectacles!

As Ortho-K lenses are worn while sleeping, it also removes the dryness and discomfort of daytime contacts and gives one freedom and comfort!

Fad trying out the Ortho-K lenses

Because I was already wearing contact lens that day, I couldn't try out the Ortho-K lenses. Hence Fad who had 20/20 perfect vision tried out the Ortho-K lenses.

He described the experience as being slightly uncomfortable when his eyes were kept open — probably due to his lack of prior experience with contact lens because he doesn't need them! #imjealous

Ortho-K lens is a non-surgical alternative suitable for people who are interested in ICL but are not quite ready for that yet!

The Eyeclinic by Dr Cheryl Lee
333A Orchard Road, Mandarin Gallery

#04-24/25, Singapore 238897
Contact: +65 6235 5833

Special thanks to Dr Cheryl Lee for inviting me to her clinic and for expanding my knowledge on the available alternatives to attain perfect vision!

Dr Cheryl Lee is one of the best eye surgeons in Singapore and has collated tons of experiences from her many years of work abroad in several different cities/countries. She has a wall of certificates (in her clinic) that can prove her level of expertise in this industry!

Dr Cheryl Lee has also appeared in our local newspapers on several occasions, commending her on the brilliant effort that she has put in to revolutionise the way that Singaporeans are viewing Myopia and its related treatment options.

The EyeClinic also offers other eye-related services such as cataract and presbyopia treatment, as well as age-management of eye lids, management of dry eyes, glaucoma, common retinal conditions and etc. Do check out their site for more information!

*Tsiklis NS, Kymionis GD, Karp CL, Naoumidi T, Pallikaris AI. (2007) Nine-year follow-up of a posterior chamber phakic IOL in one eye and LASIK in the fellow eye of the same patient. Journal of Refractive Surgery, 23, 935-943.

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