LASIK vs. ICLs: A Comprehensive Comparison

While choosing the best LASIK surgeon is critical to achieving an excellent visual result, determining the best vision correction procedure for your eyes is also a major factor.  LASIK (Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomilesis) has long been regarded as the preferred method for treating various visual conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism and offers better results with significantly fewer risks than ICL (Implantable Contact Lens) surgery.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, approximately 34 million Americans suffer from myopia (nearsightedness), while 14.2 million are affected by hyperopia (farsightedness), and 28.6 million have astigmatism.  These conditions can significantly affect an individual’s quality of vision, making glasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery effective treatment options.

LASIK has been performed in the United States since 1996, with over 20 million procedures having been performed since that time.  LASIK has a proven track record, with excellent visual results and a patient satisfaction rate of over 96%.  LASIK utilizes advanced laser technology to gently reshape the cornea (the outer surface of the eye) and can correct most amounts of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.  Since LASIK is performed on the surface of the cornea, it is not an invasive procedure and not associated with risks inherent in procedures done inside the eye, such as those associated with an ICL.  LASIK is known to have little if any discomfort and offers a rapid return of vision, with many patients achieving 20/20 vision within hours and the ability to resume most normal activities the very next day.

In contrast, ICL is a surgical procedure that is done inside the eye.  It has been approved in 2005 and to date, approximately 1 million procedures have been performed worldwide since that time.  A small lens, similar to a contact lens, is surgically inserted between the iris and the natural lens of the eye.  It can correct most amounts of nearsightedness, limited amounts of astigmatism, and cannot correct farsightedness at this time.  While visual results from the ICL procedure can be good, there are many more risks associated with an ICL than with LASIK.  Since the ICL is an invasive procedure, there is a much higher incidence of the following risks:

  • Infection
  • Glaucoma
  • Increased ocular pressure
  • Blurry vision
  • Cloudy cornea
  • Cataract formation
  • Lens displacement
  • Retinal tear or retinal detachment
  • Chronic inflammation

Neither LASIK or ICL surgery are typically covered by medical insurance, as they are considered to be cosmetic or elective.  Usually, a well-performed LASIK procedure done by an experienced LASIK surgeon will cost approximately $2300-$3200 per eye, while an ICL will generally range between $3500-5000 per eye.

LASIK remains the gold standard for vision correction procedures, offering excellent visual outcomes to patients with nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.  It offers a quick visual recovery, with little to no down time.  Limited follow-up care is necessary, with the majority of patients returning to their normal daily activities the very next day.

The best way to determine your candidacy for refractive surgery is to schedule your free* LASIK exam.  Click here to schedule your FREE* LASIK exam today, or call us at 949-951-4641.

*$200 exam fee will apply to patients who have had any previous eye surgery. This fee will be applied towards surgical procedure.

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