Phakic intraocular lenses (ICL) implantation

What does the treatment involve?

Phakic intraocular lenses are implanted in the eye without the need to extract the natural crystalline lens, as done in other ophthalmic procedures. This treatment preserves the eye's ability to focus on its own, as instead of replacing the lens as in cataract surgery, these lenses are added to the eye's optical system to improve its refractive capacity.

The main objective of this procedure is to correct refractive errors such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. In other words, phakic intraocular lenses are used to improve the way light enters the eye, so that it focuses correctly on the retina and provides clear vision.

What are its indications?

What are its indications?

Phakic intraocular lenses are an option, like LASIK or PRK, and are particularly useful for patients who are not candidates for other refractive surgeries. This includes people with high refractive errors, severe dry eyes, or thin corneas.

The following conditions may indicate the need for this treatment:

  • High myopia: Myopia is a common refractive error that impairs distance vision. When myopia is high, phakic lenses can offer more precise correction than glasses or contact lenses.
  • High hyperopia: Phakic lenses can be a preferable option when hyperopia is significant and exceeds the correction limits of other techniques like LASIK.
  • Astigmatism: Astigmatism is a condition that affects the shape of the cornea and can cause blurred vision. Phakic lenses can correct both myopia and astigmatism, providing clearer and sharper vision.

Additionally, it is recommended for people whose prescription is stable, typically over 18 years old. It is important to mention that the choice of this procedure should be made under the guidance of an experienced ophthalmologist who can adequately evaluate the patient's eye conditions and visual needs.

How is it performed?

The procedure for implanting phakic intraocular lenses is an outpatient surgical process that is usually performed under topical or local anaesthesia.

Preparation: Before the surgery, the ophthalmologist conducts a comprehensive evaluation of the patient's eyes, including diagnostic tests and measurement of the power required for the phakic lens.

Incision: A small incision is made in the cornea to allow access to the interior of the eye.

Lens insertion: The phakic lens is carefully placed in the eye through the incision. The exact position of the lens is determined based on preoperative measurements and the eye's anatomy.

Closure of the incision: Once the lens is in place, the incision is self-sealing.

The recovery time varies depending on the patient but is generally quick. Medications are prescribed to prevent infections, and instructions for post-surgery care are provided.


The results of phakic intraocular lens implantation are typically highly satisfactory in terms of visual correction. Most of the time, complete recovery and stabilization of vision are achieved within a couple of weeks. Patients who undergo this surgery experience significant improvement in their vision and can reduce or even eliminate their dependence on glasses or contact lenses.

In general, long-lasting results are expected. However, it is important to note that the natural aging of the eye can affect vision over time, and additional adjustments may be necessary in the future.

Possible Risks

Like any surgical procedure, phakic intraocular lens implantation carries certain risks. Although these risks are relatively low, it is important for patients to be informed about them before making a decision. Some possible risks include:

Infection: There is a small risk of eye infection after surgery. Proper use of antibiotics and following the doctor's instructions can reduce this risk.

Surgical complications: In rare cases, complications may occur during surgery, such as corneal damage or lens displacement. These complications are appropriately addressed, and their impact is minimized.

It is important to highlight that risks and complications can vary based on individual patient characteristics, so it is essential for the ophthalmologist to conduct a thorough evaluation before recommending this treatment.

Professionals who perform this treatment

Frequently asked questions

  • No, the procedure is performed under local anaesthesia in the form of eye drops, so the patient does not experience pain during the surgery. In the postoperative period, there may be a slight discomfort or feeling of having something in the eye, but these discomforts usually disappear within a few days.

  • The recovery time after phakic lens implantation varies, but in most cases, patients can resume their normal activities within a few days after the procedure. However, strenuous activities and direct contact with water or dusty environments may need to be avoided during the first few weeks.