5 Differences between ICL Surgery and Laser Eye Surgery

Laser eye surgery has become synonymous with vision correction surgery but there are different types of surgery out there. One of the most recent advancements in Refractive Surgery is a procedure where a special lens is inserted into the patient’s eye to correct a person’s vision. This procedure uses what is called an Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL), and it is growing a popular option amongst patients who are seeking options to get them out of glasses and contact lenses. With this innovation of technology and surgical procedure, field of refractive surgery widened, and now patients are able to have some options for vision correction. However, while it is great to have more options, it can make the decision-making hard. In this blog, we will help you understand the facts about ICL as compared to laser eye surgery.


A primary difference between ICL surgery and laser eye surgery is that unlike laser vision correction, ICL does not involve reshaping the cornea. Laser eye surgery involves permanent ablation of some corneal tissue, making the procedure irreversible, while ICL surgery does not involve the ablation of the cornea and is completely reversible. The implanted lens is everlasting, but the patient can ask the surgeon to remove them whenever they want.

Extensive Examination Process

A second part of the ICL surgery that people should be aware is that it requires a more extensive and comprehensive eye examination compared to laser eye surgery. This is mainly due to the importance of determining the correct sizing and location of the lens before performing the surgery. Moreover, post operative checkups are more frequent when it comes to ICL, since the doctor has to monitor the sizing and the position of the ICL, and also observe the endothelial cell count as these factors are crucial in keeping the patients’ vision from staying safe and healthy.

For those with high prescription

Thirdly, big between laser eye surgery and ICL are limitations like thin cornea and high prescriptions for either nearsightedness or farsightedness. While laser eye surgery has its limit on correcting high myopia and astigmatism, ICLs treat a very wide range of nearsightedness from a more moderate amount (-3.00D) up to more extreme amount (-20.00D). Therefore, ICL surgery can be a good option for people who are not able to have laser eye surgery, perhaps because they have a high eye prescription or high degree of astigmatism.

Thin cornea? That’s okay!

The fourth factor is corneal thickness. Corneal thickness effects the patient’s eligibility for laser eye surgery, as they must have enough corneal tissue to safely undergo the laser procedure. If the cornea is too thin, receiving laser eye surgery could cause vision complications. On the other hand, corneal thickness doesn’t hinder the eligibility for ICL surgery, unlike laser eye surgery. Even patients with very thin corneas can undergo the ICL!

Fast recovery

The fifth aspect is recovery. Recovery from ICL surgery is relatively quick, both in terms of visual recovery and patient comfort, The lens is intended to be a permanent placement, and the lens is not intended to require cleaning adjustment, or maintenance like contact lenses require. Meanwhile visual recovery and patient comfort differ in laser eye surgery as it depends on which procedure the patient receive.

B&VIIT 1:1 Patient Consultation

All in all, when comparing ICL surgery vs. Laser Eye Surgery, it can be tempting to ask which of the two procedures is “better”. While some doctors may argue for one type of surgery over the other, the reality is that it depends on the patient. For that reason, we strongly encoruage you to consult with an opthalmologist at Gangnam B&VIIT Eye Center when choosing between these procedures!

Published by B&VIIT EYE CENTER

B&VIIT Eye Center is an ultra-modern, Korea's representative ophthalmic clinic that has successfully accomplished vision correction surgeries on over 500,000 eyes for 27 years.

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