What’s the recovery process after Implantable Contact Lens surgery?

08 February 2022

Author: Kate Green

Implantable contact lens recovery

Embarking on the Implantable Contact Lens journey


Putting yourself forward for vision correction surgery can be a big decision. Most of our patients have considered laser or lens surgery for a long time before they come to us, having finally taken the leap and booked themselves a consultation. The fear of the unknown is a huge factor, as people often don’t know what to expect unless they can rely on a friend or family member to have had treatment before them. While patients can be a bit hesitant about the surgery itself, some of our patients actually say that they’re more preoccupied with thoughts of the recovery period.


There’s a common misconception that the recovery from vision correction treatment is long and painful. While it varies from person to person, most laser patients are only in discomfort for a matter of days. This is also dependent on whether they opt for LASIK or LASEK, and you can read more about the laser recovery journey on our blog here.


Today, however, we’re looking into the Implantable Contact Lens (ICL) recovery process. This will set your mind at ease, whether you’re considering ICL treatment now or in the future.


What are Implantable Contact Lenses?


ICLs are a vision correction option for people who aren’t suitable for laser eye surgery for a number of reasons. Some ICL patients find that their corneas are too thin for laser eye surgery (laser treatment involves removing some of the cornea, which can’t be done if it’s too thin). Laser eye surgery is also only suitable for short-sighted prescriptions up to -10 and long-sighted prescriptions up to +6. However, ICLs can treat much stronger prescriptions: -20 for short-sight and +10 for long-sight. ICLs can also correct astigmatisms up to +/- 6.


ICL surgery differs to standard lens replacement surgery in that your eye’s existing natural lens remains in place. The ICL is simply inserted into your eye and sits in front of your natural lens, behind your iris (the coloured section of your eye). This means that the lens is invisible to anyone who looks at you, but that it can be removed safely later on, should your prescription or visual requirements change.


What does ICL surgery recovery involve?


ICL surgery recovery is typically faster than that of laser eye surgery recovery. The surgery itself takes around 20-30 minutes per eye. You will likely find that your vision is slightly blurred immediately after surgery and for a day or two following treatment. Having said that, some of our ICL patients are back in work 1-2 days after surgery, so it really is down to your individual recovery process. Along with the blurry vision, you might find that your eyes feel a little sore or irritated in the first few days, but this is completely normal. We would suggest avoiding digital screens and bright lights for the first day or two, which might mean wearing sunglasses and taking more naps than usual. You will also be given an eye drop regimen to follow to aid your recovery.


In terms of aftercare appointments, you will have four check-ups after your treatment at the following stages:

  • 1-2 days after
  • 7-10 days after
  • 4-6 weeks after
  • 3-6 months after


After your final appointment, you will be discharged if your vision is good and the optometrist is happy with your healing and overall result. Your vision also tends to gradually improve for up to 6 months after you treatment, which is why we schedule an appointment at the end of this window to check your final result.


You will also be required to attend an Endothelial Cell Count (ECC) test once a year following your treatment, to ensure that your eyes remain in good health.


What are the benefits of ICL surgery?


Our choice of lens at Ultralase is the EVO Visian lens by STAAR. There are multiple benefits to this lens including:

  • UV protection
  • Improved night vision
  • Lower risk of dry eyes
  • Exceptionally quick procedure
  • Biocompatible material
  • Can be safely removed, if needed


To find out more about the EVO Visian lens and what the next steps are for having ICL treatment with Ultralase, read more on our dedicated web page. Please feel free to contact us on 0800 988 6390 or enquiries@ultralase.com if you would like further information.

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