Hoopes Vision Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL)

The implantable collamer lens procedure, or ICL for short, differs from cataract surgery in that it is a phakic procedure, meaning the eye’s natural lens is not removed. An ICL is an artificial lens, similar in function to a contact lens, which is implanted in front of the eye’s natural lens, but behind the iris, so that it is practically invisible to outside observers. The ICL procedure corrects moderate to severe myopia (nearsightedness).

This implantable lens is capable of correcting a higher degree of myopia (nearsightedness) than LASIK, and since the procedure does not involve reshaping the cornea through removal of tissue, it can be performed on patients whose corneas are too thin for laser refractive procedures. In addition, recovery is extremely fast and post-operative vision is incredibly sharp. Visian ICL is an outpatient procedure, with most patients seeing well enough to drive by the next day.


ICL Surgery

Implantable collamer lens – ICL for short – has been an alternative for our Utah vision correction surgery patients for nearly a decade. The STAAR Visian® ICL is often an option for vision correction in patients with thin corneas or who are extremely nearsighted. The Visian® ICL procedure consists of placing a corrective lens, similar to a contact lens, in the eye itself. The ICL lens is implanted in front of the eye’s natural lens, but behind the iris, so that it is invisible to outside observers. The implantable lens is capable of correcting a higher degree of myopia (nearsightedness) than LASIK, and since the procedure does not involve reshaping the cornea through removal of tissue, it can be performed on patients whose corneas are too thin for laser refractive procedures. In addition, recovery is extremely fast and postoperative vision is very sharp. Visian® ICL is an outpatient procedure (the patient returns home the same day), with most patients seeing well enough to drive by the next day.

The first ICl was implanted in 1993 and FDA studies began shortly thereafter in 1997. Dr. Robert Rivera was one of the initial investigators in the FDA trials. There have been over 250,000 ICLs implanted so far, and a new lens is implanted world-wide every seven minutes.

During the ICL procedure no corneal tissue is removed. The lens is inserted through a small 3 mm self-sealing incision where no stitches are needed. The lens is inserted behind the iris, and in front of the natural lens where it cannot be seen or felt. Vision is significantly improved immediately after surgery, and continues to improve over the next few days. Vision is often described as ultra-high definition. As with all surgeries, there is some risk with ICL surgery. Risk can be minimized by selecting an experienced surgeon and the right surgical environment. Your doctor will discuss potential risks and benefits of ICL surgery with you prior to determining candidacy and help you make an informed decision regarding whether or not ICL surgery is right for you.

Are you a candidate for ICL surgery?

Since their introduction in the mid-1990s, LASIK and PRK have helped millions of Americans see better without glasses or contact lenses. Since that time, laser eye surgery technology has constantly progressed, affording better, more consistent results to an ever-broadening range of eligible surgical candidates. However, in spite of all these advances, there is still a significant number of patients who are not good candidates for laser vision correction. Patients with thin or irregularly shaped corneas, extremely high prescriptions, severely dry eyes, or any combination of these factors, may not be suitable patients for LASIK or PRK, but may be able to have the Visian® ICL procedure.


You may be a candidate for Visian® ICL eye surgery if you:

  • Are over 18 years old with a stable prescription.
  • Have moderate to extreme nearsightedness.
  • Have healthy eyes without disease or serious ailments.
  • Have realistic expectations and are educated and informed about the risks and benefits of ICL surgery and the alternatives.


A thorough vision correction examination is required to determine if you are a candidate for ICL surgery. Our Draper, Utah office provides complimentary vision correction surgery examinations for patients who have not had previous vision correction surgery, and are now considering ICL or laser vision correction surgery in Utah.


Here are the answers to the most commonly asked questions about Visian ICL.

Where is the Visian ICL placed?

A qualified ophthalmologist will insert the Visian ICL through a small micro-opening, placing it inside the eye just behind the iris in front of the eye’s natural lens.

Does it hurt?

No, most patients state that they are very comfortable throughout the procedure. Your ophthalmologist will use topical anesthetic drops prior to the procedure and may choose to administer a light sedative as well.

Is the Visian ICL visible to others?

No. The Visian ICL is positioned behind the iris (the colored part of the eye), where it is invisible to both you and observers. Only your surgeon will be able to tell that vision correction has taken place.

Will I be able to feel the Visian ICL once it’s in place?

The Visian ICL is designed to be completely unobtrusive after it is put in place. It stays in position by itself and does not interact with any of the eye’s structures.

Can the Visian ICL be removed from my eye?

Although the Visian ICL is intended to remain in place permanently, a qualified ophthalmologist can remove the implant if necessary.

What is the Visian ICL made of?

The Visian ICL is made of Collamer®, a highly biocompatible advanced lens material which contains a small amount of purified collagen. Collamer does not cause a reaction inside the eye and contains an ultraviolet blocker that provides protection to the eye. Collamer is a material proprietary to STAAR Surgical Company.

Hoopes Vision Schedule Your VIP Consultation

If you have been told that you are not a good candidate for LASIK and want to learn more about your vision correction options, please contact us. It would be our pleasure to answer any questions you may have, and schedule an appointment for you with the appropriate specialist.

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Hoopes Vision Other Procedures

Hoopes Vision is proud to offer a comprehensive selection of the newest, safest, and most effective vision correction procedures available anywhere in the world. Whether you are seeking freedom from the hassle of glasses and contacts or you are in need of a sight-saving cornea transplant, the specialists at Hoopes Vision have the expertise and the technology to help you.

Corneal Transplants

The fellowship-trained, board-certified cornea specialists at Hoopes Vision offer a comprehensive array of the most advanced cornea transplant procedures available today, including the newer partial-thickness and laser-assisted transplants.


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For patients who may not be ideal candidates for ICL due to the onset of presbyopia, also known as “after-40 vision,” the KAMRA corneal inlay is a promising new option. The goal of KAMRA is to eliminate or reduce dependence on reading glasses, while leaving distance vision unchanged.


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Since its introduction in the 1990s, LASIK has helped millions of people to see better, free from glasses and contact lenses. It is a fast, safe procedure with a speedy recovery time and excellent patient results.

However, there are a number of people who are not suitable candidates for LASIK, due to factors such as extreme nearsightedness, thin or irregular corneas, or extremely dry eyes. For these patients, there is another option: implantable collamer lenses, or ICLs. These lenses, available in the United States since 2005, are currently approved for the treatment of moderate to severe myopia (nearsightedness). Hoopes Vision is one of the most experienced ICL implanting surgical providers in the country.


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Keratoconus is a degenerative eye condition that causes the shape of the cornea to change from a round dome to an irregular cone shape as the central cornea becomes progressively thinner and weaker. Keratoconus affects about 1 in 2000 people. Keratoconus causes impaired vision as the condition progresses, often reaching a point where glasses and contact lenses are no longer able to provide adequate vision. Historically, up to 25% of keratoconus cases eventually require a corneal transplant.

However, over the past several years, new treatment options for keratoconus have been introduced. These treatments can delay or prevent the necessity of corneal transplantation. The board-certified corneal specialists at Hoopes Vision are at the forefront of these advanced technologies. One such new treatment option is the Intacs procedure.

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Hoopes Vision Learn More About Us

Our Experience

The team of vision correction surgeons at Hoopes Vision are Board Certified and fellowship-trained. Their training and experience allows them to recommend the best, safest option for each individual patient’s needs, then carry out that option with confidence and expertise.

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Our Facility

Our on-site surgery center, EyeSurg of Utah, is one of the most technologically advanced eye surgery centers in the country. It offers advantages in speed, efficiency, safety, and cost, compared to similar procedures performed at a hospital or general surgery center.

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While our goal at Hoopes Vision has always been to provide the best surgical vision correction available anywhere, we also work hard to make our services as affordable as possible. ICL surgery at Hoopes Vision is made surprisingly affordable by our on-site surgery center, which offers cost savings over a similar procedure performed at a hospital. We also offer a variety of payment plans, including no-interest financing for up to two years.


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Patient Spotlight Ashley Pearce

I started wearing glasses when I was in second grade. I switched to contacts when I was 12, and because I had an astigmatism, and because my eyes were changing pretty rapidly, my eye doctor gave me gas permeable lenses.  By the time I graduated high school, my prescription was around -7.0.  Over the years, it slowly worsened, and by the time I was 30, I was wearing a -10.0 rx gas permeable lens in both eyes.  Needless to say, I couldn’t see anything when I took my contacts out.

Without contacts, I could only see something if it was 5” in front of my face.  I couldn’t enjoy swimming, camping, biking, etc. (basically anything outdoors) without worrying about my contacts. On more than one vacation, I had a contact break, and I had to go the remainder of my vacation with only being able to see out of one eye (luckily I never had both break at the same time!).  When I turned 31, I finally decided to look into Lasik surgery.  Unfortunately, my eye doctor told me that Lasik would  most likely not be able to fully correct my vision, since my prescription was so strong.  He then told me about this new procedure, Visian ICL, which was slightly more expensive, but that was perfect for someone like me.

Once he gave me a bit more information, I scheduled my consultation appointment with Hoopes Vision in Draper, Utah, where I met with Dr. Rivera (he’s great!!).  After my consultation, and a few more check-up appointments, we scheduled my surgery appointment.  I was a bit nervous when I arrived at the clinic, that morning. But honestly, the worst part of the surgery was the prep-work (some of those eye drops sting).  I was a bit sedated (just to make sure I was relaxed for the procedure), but if I remember correctly, the entire process took roughly an hour, with about 45 minutes of prep work, and less than 15 minutes of actual surgery.  During the surgery, it only took about 5 minutes per eye. When it was over, they helped me sit up, and told me to read the sign on the wall. “Congratulations on your ICL surgery!” (I didn’t have much of a reaction, since it all seemed pretty surreal- and I was still sedated…) They wheeled me out of the room where my boyfriend was waiting for me, and I was on my way home.  The next day, I came in for a follow-up appointment, where they said everything was a success.  I drove from there to work (the next day!!), and as I was driving, I looked around at the cars, trees, and mountains, and I started crying.  I could not believe that I could see everything so well!

Everything was crisp and clear.  I have never been able to see that well in all of my life.  It has now been 5 months since my surgery, and I couldn’t be happier. My vision is perfect. I have had ZERO problems- no dry eyes, no blurriness, no pain or discomfort, etc.  I never take a moment for granted. I can see the grooves in the ceiling as I’m going to bed. I can see my alarm clock. I don’t have to hold my phone 5” away from my head when I’m lying in bed at night.  I can go camping without having to worry about washing, storing, and losing contacts. I can spontaneously spend the night somewhere and not have to ask for cups to put my contacts in for the night. I can get dust in my eyes and it doesn’t feel like my eyes are getting stabbed to death!  I can go swimming in the ocean- and see everything!

This is by far the best thing I have ever done for myself.

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