LASIK Alternatives (ICL, RLE)

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Visian ICLThe Visian ICL™ is the first lens of its kind to receive FDA approval for use in the United States. It is based on many years of research and development in adapting the proven technology of the IOL (intraocular lens) used for cataract surgery. The IOL cataract procedure is familiar to ophthalmologists and is performed safely on millions of patients each year. While the technology is similar, the Visian ICL™ procedure differs from cataract surgery as the natural lens is not removed from the eye. Instead, the Visian ICL™ is placed in front of the natural lens and works with it to correct vision.

If you are nearsighted, you may be a candidate for Visian ICL. There are many unique advantages of the lens, including the fact that you may qualify for surgery, even if you have been turned down for LASIK or other surgical procedures. The future of refractive surgery is now available:

  • Performance – Provides excellent quality of vision with predictable and stable results
  • Simplicity – Inserted through a micro incision utilizing a procedure that is familiar to the surgeon. The lens is invisible to both you and observers. It requires no maintenance
  • Versatility – Capable of correcting a wide range of nearsightedness and is removable if necessary
  • Biocompatibility – The lens is made from Collamer, a soft, flexible lens material offering unparalleled biocompatibility
  • Safety – Safe, proven procedure that is familiar to ophthalmologists


What happens during the Visian ICL™ procedure?

One to two weeks prior to your Visian ICL™ surgery, your surgeon at the Southwestern Eye Center will make a small opening with a laser to allow fluid to pass between the lens and the front chamber of the eye. The actual Visian ICL procedure typically takes approximately 15 minutes and is performed on an outpatient basis. (Please note that someone will have to drive you to and from surgery.) Normally, very little discomfort is associated with this procedure. A light topical or local anesthetic is administered and a mild sedative may be given. Eye drops or oral medication may be prescribed. You will come back the next day for a follow-up visit.

  • Step 1 – Prior to the implantation of the Visian ICL, you will receive topical anesthetic drops. Your surgeon may also administer a sedative. First, a microscopic incision will be made where the white of your eye meets the colored part.
  • Step 2 – A gel-like substance will be injected into your eye and the Visian ICL will be inserted in front of your iris.
  • Step 3 – The Visian ICL is carefully placed behind the iris and the gel is removed from your eye.
  • Step 4 – That’s it! Because the incision made is microscopic, it will heal naturally in a very short period of time without needing any sutures. Implanting the Visian ICL is an outpatient procedure and takes about 15 minutes. A few hours after the procedure, you will be able to leave the clinic. There will be specific post-operative instructions that you will need to follow and discuss with your Visian ICL surgeon.

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Visian ICL™ Advantages
Quality of Vision

The Visian ICL™ offers unparalleled quality of vision, providing excellent contrast. Two unique factors help explain this superior optical performance. First, the Visian ICL is made of Collamer – a soft, flexible lens material that contains a small amount of collagen – making the lens extremely biocompatible for a lifetime of clear vision. Second, the lens is placed inside of the eye, where it continues to focus light accurately without any maintenance required.


The Visian ICL™ is inserted into the eye by an ophthalmologist through a small, micro-incision. The lens unfolds in the eye and is positioned between the iris and the natural lens where it stays indefinitely. The procedure takes approximately 15 minutes and is performed on an outpatient basis.

Advanced lens material

The Visian ICL is made of Collamer, an advanced lens material that has unique properties. Collamer transmits light and reduces reflections that can interfere with vision, so you see clearly. Made of a copolymer and collagen, Collamer is also highly biocompatible. It allows the Visian ICL to rest quietly in position while accurately correcting vision. Collamer is the only lens material made with collagen–the best choice for a lens that is going to remain inside your body for a lifetime.


The Visian ICL™ does not alter any structures within the eye or on the cornea. If necessary, it can be removed from the eye by a simple surgical procedure.

Invisible and undetectable

You won’t be able to see the Visian ICL™ in your eye, and neither will anybody else. Exceptional quality of vision will be the only reminder that you had 21st-century vision correction.

Excellent for a wide range of vision correction needs

  • Extreme refractive error

Anyone seeking clear vision may be a candidate for the Visian ICL™, including patients with extreme or special vision correction needs.

  • Thin corneas

The cornea is the curved surface on the front of the eye. The Visian ICL™ does not have any effect on the cornea and may be appropriate if you have thin corneas.

Visian ICL™ does not cause or contribute to dry eyes.

“Best thing I have ever done. I would do it again tomorrow if necessary.”

– Glenn B.

“I had lens implants, so now I can see without eyeglasses. The doctors are wonderful, caring.”

– Emily R.

Our Doctors

Learn more about our LASIK surgeons. While LASIK surgeries are fast and simple, we still pride ourselves in having highly experienced and respected surgeons to help get you to your desired results.

Dr. Michael Campion
Michael Campion, M.D.

Cataracts, ICL, RLE, LASIK

Dr. Aaron Petersen
Aaron M. Petersen, M.D.

Cataracts, ICL, RLE

Dr. Daryl Pfister
Daryl Pfister, M.D.

Cataracts, ICL, RLE