ICL vs Lasik… Which is better?

ICL vs Lasik.. Which is better?

When someone is considering refractive surgery, I find very few know anything about the ICL procedure. Almost everyone knows about LASIK but since so few eye surgeons (ophthalmologists) offer the ICL, very few patients are even given that option.

To be politically correct let me say…”There are is no best surgery to correct vision, there is only the best surgery for you.” Now with that said, I tend to favor ICL in most cases.


The initials “ICL” technically stands for Implantable Collamer Lens. But most people think it stands for Implantable Contact Lens.  For very high myopes, it is sometimes the only refractive-surgery option short of removing the human lens (RLE-refractive lens exchange).  The ICL procedure has several advantages over Lasik.

It has the highest power correction range up to -20.00

Although it does involve a small hole in the Iris (the colored part of the eye) it is less “destructive” than Lasik. Lasik involves cutting a flap in the cornea then “melting” corneal tissue with a laser. The ICL is simply inserting a “lens” inside the eye (between the human lens and the iris).

ICL is reversible and changeable. Lasik is not.

Dry eyes is a common common complaint with Laisk.

Lasik inherently causes aberrations within the corneal that can potentially produce difficulty at night or  “loss of best visual acuity.”

Because of the flattening of the cornea with Lasik, contact lens wear post-Lasik is not a good option. So if the eyes change over time, the patient may be stuck wearing glasses to correct the difference. However, with an ICL, if the eye changes, contact lenses are still an option OR can even change the ICL (rarely done).

There is a possibility that for older patients (over 45) the ICL may cause cataracts to develop earlier. 50% of the US  population will develop cataracts by age 65 no matter what they do. Some studies suggest ICL may cause the cataract to develop 5 -7 years earlier. This is apparently a fairly rare occurrence.


Any surgery involves some risk. For patients with myopia (nearsightedness) -3.00 and under… consider  CRT instead. This involves wearing a retainer lens at night to gently reshape the cornea without surgery. Sleep your way to great vision!

At your next eye check-up, ask if you are a candidate for any of these procedures. We will be happy to coordinate Lasik or ICL with some of Arizona’s top eye surgeons.  As for CRT, we are the only certified CRT provider in the White Mountain area.


A word about YOUR yearly eye examination and refractive procedures. Too may patients judge the need for yearly eye checkups based on how they see. If you have ICL, LASIK, or even the non-surgical CRT procedure MAKE SURE YOU ARE SEEN YEARLY. Besides vision, there is a long list of health-related issues that can not be ignored simply because you are “seeing good.”