The Evo ICL (Implantable Collamer Lens) has gained global recognition as a leading vision correction procedure with over 1 million successful surgeries performed worldwide. It is rapidly becoming one of the most popular and trusted options for achieving freedom from glasses and contact lenses.
In our “Complete Patient Guide to the Evo ICL” we’ll discuss what every patient considering a vision correction procedure needs to know, such as:
- What is the Evo ICL?
- Who is a Good Candidate?
- What to Expect Before, During, and After Your Procedure
- Risks & Benefits of Evo ICL
- How to Choose a Surgeon
Read on to learn more about the life-changing Evo ICL.
What is Evo ICL?
ICL stands for “Implantable Contact Lens” or “Implantable Collamer Lens”
Instead of using a laser to change the shape of the cornea, the ICL is a lens implant that corrects the need for glasses or contact lenses. The collamer material used in the lens is biocompatible, meaning it is well-tolerated by the eye and provides exceptional visual clarity.
ICL technology has been FDA-approved in the United States since 2005. However, like most other technologies, there have been significant advances since then, including the FDA approval of astigmatism-correcting ICL’s in 2018, and the Evo ICL in 2022.
Over 1 million ICL procedures have been performed worldwide. The technological advancements of the Evo ICL have made the procedure safer than ever before. For many patients, it offers superior safety & vision outcomes compared to LASIK.
The Evo ICL doesn’t involve any laser re-shaping of the cornea & is reversible. These benefits compared to LASIK make the Evo ICL particularly suited for patients such as those with thin corneas, irregular corneas, or prescriptions too high for treatment with LASIK.
Many patients are good candidates for both LASIK and Evo ICL. In these situations, it’s important to have an experienced doctor who can guide you through a detailed discussion of the pro & cons of each option so that you can choose the best procedure for you.
With the Evo ICL, patients can enjoy clear and sharp vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses. In the United States, the Evo ICL is able to correct myopia and astigmatism, including prescriptions that are much too high for other procedures such as LASIK or PRK. (Note: The Evo ICL is not available for farsighted patients in the U.S.)
Who is a Good Candidate for Evo ICL?
Per the FDA’s labeling of the Evo ICL, it is approved for patients between the ages of 21 and 45 years old.
Of note, the Evo ICL can be used in patients outside of this age range, however, it is considered “off-label”. The off-label use of medical devices or medications is common practice and legal. “Off label” refers to the use of a product in a manner that is not specified in the FDA-approved labeling of a product.
If you fall outside this age range and are interested in the Evo ICL, please discuss it with your doctor.
The Evo ICL is approved for patients who have between -3.0 D and -20.0 D of nearsightedness, and no more than 4.0 D of astigmatism.
The Evo ICL can correct up to -15.0 D of nearsightedness. It may be used in patients with a higher prescription to reduce their nearsightedness.
For example, if your prescription is -20, the Evo ICL will reduce it significantly. However, you are still likely to have approximately 5.0 D of nearsightedness. To correct the remaining about of nearsightedness, it is common to consider LASIK or PRK in addition to Evo ICL.
Anterior Chamber Depth
The Evo ICL is implanted just behind the iris and in front of the natural lens. This space is part of what’s called the “anterior chamber”. During your consultation, your doctor will measure the depth of the anterior chamber to make sure it is large enough to safely fit the Evo ICL. This measurement is called the “Anterior Chamber Depth”. The Evo ICL is approved for patients who have an anterior chamber depth of 3.0mm or greater.
Similar to other vision correction procedures, your vision should be stable before you proceed. You and your surgeon should both want a long-lasting outcome from your procedure. The good news is that most people have stable prescriptions by age 21. If your prescription is not stable, you should discuss with your doctor the reason and have regular eye exams until it stabilizes.
General Eye Health
Other general eye conditions that could make someone a poor candidate for Evo ICL include cataracts, glaucoma, and Fuchs Dystrophy. These conditions are uncommon in 21-to-45-year-olds. As part of your evaluation for Evo ICL, you will have a comprehensive eye exam to detect any condition such as these.
Pregnancy or Nursing
For patients who are pregnant or nursing, it is advisable to postpone Evo ICL. Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy and breastfeeding can impact the stability of your prescription.
Two great resources for information about determining if you’re a good candidate for the Evo ICL are:
The Evo ICL Procedure: What to Expect
As part of your vision correction consultation, your doctor will do many tests to determine which procedure is best for you. These tests will include checking your prescription and measuring different parts of the eye. Many of these measurements are similar to those for LASIK. One of the important additional measurements is called the “Anterior Chamber Depth”.
The Anterior Chamber Depth (ACD) is important to determine if you are a candidate for the Evo ICL. If your ACD is too small, it means that there is not enough space to safely implant the lens.
On the day of your procedure, you’ll check in to the front desk of your surgical center and be taken back to the pre-procedure area. Typically your name and date of birth will be confirmed in addition to the procedure that you’ll be having. Also, it’s important to have a driver to-and-from the surgery center that day.
Next, you’ll have basic vital signs checked, make sure nothing has changed with your overall health since you were last seen by your eye doctor, and then your eyes will be dilated with eye drops.
Once you’re ready for surgery, you’ll head to the procedure room. It’s important to note that only one eye will have the procedure at a time.
Either right before you head to the procedure room, or right after, you’ll be administered sedatives to help you relax, and additional numbing eyedrops.
The skin around your eyes will be cleaned and a sterile drape will be placed over the area. After you are covered with the sterile drape, your doctor will spend a few minutes getting your Evo ICL lens implant ready. Your doctor will be working off to the side getting the lens ready while you are just resting comfortably.
After the lens is ready, the insertion process is quite fast. All that most patients notice is a light show as the lens unfolds and is moved into position. The procedure can take less than 10 minutes.
After your first eye is done, all of the above steps are repeated on the other side. Your surgeon will give you instructions for eyedrops after surgery. Aside from those eyedrops, your job is to go home and relax. Congratulations… You just had the Evo ICL and gained years of independence from glasses and contact lenses!
Recovery & Post-Operative Care
Your surgeon will give you instructions for after your procedure. Typically, most patients are required to take antibiotic & anti-inflammatory eyedrops for several weeks.
Most patients are seen for their first follow-up visit on either the same day of the procedure or the next day. During this visit your vision and eye pressure will be checked.
It is common to experience sensitivity to light and irritation in your eye. The irritation can be described as having an eyelash or grain of sand and is typically resolved with lubricating eyedrops. Wearing sunglasses can help alleviate discomfort. Severe pain is not common. If you experience severe pain, it is crucial to contact your doctor immediately.
Your doctor will also review activity restrictions. It is important to avoid rubbing your eyes, and certain activities like contact sports or swimming in the early postoperative period.
Most patients are legal to drive without glasses or contact lenses the very next day after surgery. However, you should wait until your doctor gives you the approval to drive. For most patients, it’s the first time in their life that they’ve ever been allowed to drive without glasses or contacts!
Benefits of the Evo ICL
There are many benefits to choosing the Evo ICL for your vision correction procedure. These benefits are making it one of the faster growing procedures worldwide… especially in the United States.
One of the primary benefits of the Evo ICL is the achievement of clear and crisp vision. The collamer lens used in the procedure provides excellent optical clarity, allowing patients to experience outstanding visual acuity.
Many individuals report improved clarity, sharpness, and contrast sensitivity, resulting in a significant enhancement in their overall visual experience.
Quick Results & Fast Recovery
With the Evo ICL, patients often experience rapid results and a relatively fast recovery process. Many individuals notice a significant improvement in their vision within a short period after the procedure. Unlike some other vision correction options, the Evo ICL offers quick visual recovery, allowing patients to resume their daily activities with minimal downtime.
Discuss specific activities with your doctor. Many patients can return to work or drive the very next day.
The benefits of the Evo ICL are designed to be long-lasting. The implanted collamer lens remains in place, providing stable and reliable vision correction for the long term. Patients can enjoy their corrected vision for years to come, reducing the need for ongoing interventions or adjustments.
Eventually, everyone develops cataracts if they grow old enough. Cataracts typically affect patients who are older than 50. When it’s time for cataract surgery, your Evo ICL implant will be removed during the procedure. The removal of the ICL is simple and typically adds less than 30 seconds to your cataract surgery. This means that many patients can achieve decades of outstanding vision from their Evo ICL prior to its removal.
Avoiding Laser Ablation of the Cornea
By opting for the Evo ICL, you can achieve vision correction without permanently altering the shape of your cornea. This avoids potential complications associated with corneal thinning and instability. Additionally, preserving the cornea’s natural shape may be beneficial for potential future treatments or advancements in refractive procedures.
One unique advantage of the Evo ICL is its reversibility. Unlike other vision correction procedures, the Evo ICL can be removed or exchanged if necessary. This feature offers flexibility and peace of mind. It may also allow patients to explore different options in the future if their vision needs change or new technologies emerge.
Risks of Evo ICL
While the Evo ICL is generally a safe and effective procedure, it is essential to understand that all procedures come with risks & benefits. Let’s discuss some of the risks of the Evo ICL.
In a small number of cases, lens repositioning, replacement, or removal may become necessary.
Repositioning of the Evo ICL lens may be performed if it is not properly aligned in the direction of astigmatism. Lens replacement may be considered if a different lens can better fit your eye or provide improved vision. In some instances, lens removal may be necessary if you develop a cataract and require surgery.
It is important to note that if the Evo ICL lens is removed, the correction for nearsightedness or nearsightedness with astigmatism will be removed with it. This means that your vision may not return to its pre-surgery state.
Following Evo ICL surgery, it is crucial to adhere to your physician’s recommendations for eye care and attend regular follow-up visits. These visits will allow your doctor to monitor for cataracts, check intraocular pressure (IOP), and assess the health of your endothelium as long as the Evo ICL lens remains in your eye(s).
Taking your antibiotic eyedrops after surgery is important to prevent infection. The incidence of infection after ICL insertion is rare. One study published in 2008 reported the incidence to be 1 in 6000, and this involved patients. Additionally, this was from patients who had their surgery from 1998 to 2006, an era before surgeons began administering intraocular antibiotics. It is believed that the incidence is significantly even lower today.
How to Choose a Surgeon for Evo ICL?
If you are considering a vision correction procedure, you should be seen by a surgeon who specializes in vision correction procedures. While the Evo ICL is a great procedure, it is not the best for every patient. Therefore, we recommend going to a doctor who is an expert in all of the available procedures. These include:
1.) Laser Vision Correction
2.) Evo ICL
3.) Custom Lens Replacement (CLeaR)
Going to a surgeon who has expertise in all of these, will allow you to have the best procedure for your eyes and lifestyle. Expertise in all of these procedures, and in matching the right patient to the right procedure are among the most important things you should look for in a vision correction specialist.
Browse Our Database
To be listed in our database, we require surgeons to be experts in all vision correction procedures. Search our database for a surgeon near you.
If you don’t find one in your area, contact us, and we’ll help locate one near you.
The cost of the Evo ICL procedure may vary depending on factors such as the practice, surgeon’s expertise, and geographic location. Insurance typically does not cover the EVO ICL or any vision correction procedure.
Health Savings Accounts are a great way to save money on the Evo ICL procedure. Many clinics offer financing options to make the procedure more affordable.
The Evo ICL is a life-changing vision correction option that can provide excellent visual outcomes for individuals with a wide range of refractive errors.
If you are seeking a reversible and precise vision correction procedure, consult with an experienced eye care professional to determine if the Evo ICL is a suitable choice for your specific needs. Remember to discuss any concerns, ask questions, and fully understand the benefits, risks, and financial considerations associated with the Evo ICL before making a decision.
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