Implantable Contact Lenses (ICL)2020-09-16T11:21:09+00:00

Implantable Contact Lens (ICL) surgery

An ideal vision correction solution if you’re unsuitable for laser eye surgery

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What are Implantable Contact Lenses?

It’s like having a contact lens inside your eye to get you out of glasses and contact lenses

Who can Implantable Contact Lens treatment help?

Can you see yourself below?

YOU’RE 20 TO 39

You’re frustrated with blurred or double vision, haziness, glare, halos around bright lights, squinting, headaches, or eye strain. You find glasses a hassle or worry about contact lens dangers. If that describes you, I can help you see better without the need for glasses and contact lenses.

YOU’RE 40 TO 45

You have been frustrated with your glasses or contact lenses all your life. Or, you have just begun to become annoyed with your new need for reading glasses. If that’s you, I can help you see clearly without either.

Live a richer life without glasses or contact lenses

Implantable Contact Lenses (ICL) are an ideal solution if you have a high prescription and are unsuitable for laser eye surgery


Imagine seeing the world without the need for glasses or contact lenses. You’ll have a freedom that some patients call “life-changing”.


Most patients say they wish they’d done it sooner. You may feel more confident and will certainly experience more convenience.


Awaken ready to face the world free from spectacles. Take a shower without the blurriness. Work and exercise without glasses or the dryness of contact lenses. Avoid the everyday chance of contact lens infection. Fall asleep, without worrying about leaving your lenses in.


Whether we like it or not, other people rate people based on appearances. Glasses can be a appendage that needlessly divides us. Ditch their limiting nature and live glasses-free.


Glasses have been the tired solution for vision problems since the 1200s. Vision correction options today have evolved significantly, yet many people are confused by the jargon or unclear explanations about what you can do. Leave the past behind and allow me to guide you on the journey towards a life free from the hassle of spectacles and contacts.

Affiliations and memberships

I am proud to be associated with these organisations as a member or consultant

Vision correction enables you to experience a richer life without spectacles or contacts

Take one of the first steps and find out if you are suitable

Supplementary information about Implantable Contact Lenses (ICL)

In my expert hands, you certainly don’t need to know all of the information I’ve included in the toggles below. If you’d like to know how it all works, however, open them and learn more.

ICL surgery is an alternative solution to laser eye surgery and ideal if you have a high prescription. I use ICL implantation to treat patients under the age of 45 in whom laser vision correction is not possible, due to untreatable dry eyes, a thin cornea or where the patient’s glasses prescription falls outside of the standard range for laser vision correction (-10.0 to +4.0).

This is particularly relevant for those under 45 because having ICL surgery means you can retain the eye’s natural lens, and therefore the capacity for close-up vision.

They are also an excellent option for patients with very high astigmatism and some cases of keratoconus.

Some patients are not suitable for ICL surgery because the space where the lens rests is not large enough. The tests we carry out at your consultation will verify that there is sufficient space in your eye for me to place and house the lens safely.

Your in-depth consultation

Our optometrist will check your glasses prescription. They will analyse your eyes with a series of thorough and comprehensive tests to check your suitability.

As a highly trained lens replacement surgeon with extensive experience, I will discuss your specific requirements in detail. I will also carry out your ICL procedure and your checks at the follow-up appointments.

Before the ICL procedure, my expert medical team and I will review you and help you relax.

We will administer anaesthetic eye drops. Once they’ve taken effect, your treatment begins.

ICL implants are artificial contact lens-like implants that a surgeon can implant into the eye to correct your vision.

This visual correction method is an alternative to laser eye surgery for any glasses prescription – long- or short-sighted and even very high degrees of astigmatism.

They enable a much broader range of treatable prescriptions and are an option for patients who are not suitable for laser eye surgery because of a very high prescription or a very thin cornea, or both.

ICLs are made from a highly specialist material that is a hybrid of collagen and plastic. This makes them highly biocompatible and safe for long-term implantation.

The advantage of ICL surgery over refractive lens exchange surgery is that the patients retain the natural focusing ability of the eye, called the accommodation.

The ICL is practically invisible. It is an entirely reversible procedure because surgeons can easily remove ICL implants if necessary. This means that future advances in vision correction will still be available to you in the future and if your vision changes then it is still possible to correct it.

I will discuss and explain relevant risks with you at your consultation. In general, risks include:

  • Overcorrection
  • Undercorrection
  • Infection
  • Increased ocular pressure
  • Repositioning
  • Damage to the crystalline lens
  • The rare early onset of cataract
  • Small risk of halos, glare and double vision
  • Less than 1% risk of retinal detachment
For many, ICL surgery is the only treatment available because they are not suitable for laser vision correction. Of course, you always have the option to stay with your glasses or contact lenses.

ICL lens implantation is a short, 15-minute procedure on each eye during which I place the ICL inside the eye through a microscopic incision.

I place the ICL behind your iris and in front of your natural lens. The procedure is totally painless, and I can treat both eyes on the same day.

The vision typically clears over 24 to 48 hours. It lasts until you develop normal age-related cataract at which time a surgeon can remove the lens implant and treat the cataract normally.

You can think of an ICLs like wearing a contact lens inside your eye instead of on the surface of it.

The ICL procedure

I make a small incision on the surface of your eye. Then, I fold the ICL and placed it into your eye using a special delivery device. This enables me to make the incision on the surface of the eye as small as possible. I inserted the lens into the eye through the delivery device, and it unfolds into position.

Rest and recovery

Afterwards, we will take you to our recovery suite to relax until you feel completely ready to return home.

Your aftercare

We will contact you the day after your Implantable Contact Lens procedure. We will arrange a follow-up consultation in the first week after your surgery to check on your progress, assess the results of your ICL procedure and provide expert aftercare. I recommend that you attend regular eye checks following this surgery.

Surgeons have implanted ICLs into 65,000 eyes worldwide. The safety and amazing improvement in vision quality has been proven over 15 years.

For ICL lens implant costs visit our pricing page, or get in touch to discover why Alex Shortt’s training and experience could make him the ideal surgeon for your ICL procedure.

Take the first step

Find out if your eyes are suitable for vision correction

Book a free screening now or get us to give you a call back to answer questions

How it works

Enjoy a life free from glasses and contact lenses in 3 easy steps




Talk to us


Book an appointment or give us a call on 020 3808 7758 and we’ll help guide you towards a free screening.


I’ll see you before treatment to ensure you’re a good candidate and treat you at one of my Harley Street London facilities.


I’ll supervise your aftercare as you begin to experience a life free of glasses and contact lenses.

Even more information about Implantable Contact Lenses

I frequently write articles and publish videos to answer people’s most common questions and keep them updated on the latest developments in vision correction. Find out more below…

You don’t choose eye surgery from a menu

Some patients worry they will have to do a whole heap of work to choose the best eye surgery. Not on my watch. Below are some alternatives that you might have heard about, however, I believe it is my duty to choose which eye treatment is best for you after conducting a thorough examination


LASIK is the most common form of laser vision correction. It’s a safe and effective treatment for short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism. If you’re considering ICL, it’s probably because LASIK is not suitable for you.


SMILE works similarly to LASIK but is a less-invasive, keyhole treatment. While SMILE can be safer for some, you’re likely considering ICL because SMILE is not suitable for you.


PRESBYOND, also known as “laser blended vision” is a laser vision correction treatment aimed at treating presbyopia and other refractive errors. If you’re unsuitable for LASIK, then you’re also unlikely suitable for PRESBYOND.


LASEK is a type of laser eye surgery, often used as an alternative treatment for those who are not suitable for LASIK eye surgery. LASEK may not be suitable for you if you have a high prescription, very high astigmatism or keratoconus.

Lens Replacement (RLE)

Lens replacement or Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) is an advanced form of vision correction surgery which we use to treat patients over 50 years of age who need glasses for both distance and for reading.

The advantage of ICL surgery over refractive lens exchange surgery is that the patients retain the natural focusing ability of the eye, called the accommodation.

Refractive cataract surgery

If you have a cataract, removing that cataract and replacing your natural lens with a multifocal artificial lens will negate the need to have an ICL.

Complex cataract surgery

If you have a cataract and another complicating eye condition, removing that cataract and replacing your natural lens with an artificial lens will negate the need to have an ICL.

About the author

Mr Alex J. Shortt | Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

MB BCh MSc PhD FRCOphth PGDipCatRef

I’m Alex Shortt, a highly trained academic researcher and Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon based in London’s famous Harley Street medical district. I trained and worked as a consultant for 14 years at London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital. I specialise in advanced technologies for correcting vision, including cataract surgery, implantable contact lenses and laser vision correction.

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