A Journey to Better Vision with ICL Surgery: Sara’s Story

Sara Hunter has been wearing glasses for her short-sightedness since she was six years old. After making the switch to contact lenses at the age of 12 or 13, Sara took the plunge (after a push from her optician) to find out how London Vision Clinic could help her on a journey to better vision.

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In early 2023, Sara decided to document her experience after struggling to find accounts from other ICL surgery patients in the UK – and we’re glad she did!

Like all our patients, Sara’s journey kicked off with an initial consultation to determine her eligibility for treatment. Having been turned away for Laser Eye Surgery in the past, Sara’s optician suggested she come to London Vision Clinic, as we are often able to treat higher prescriptions than other clinics.

Unfortunately, Sara’s prescription was too high (-15) to make her eligible for Laser Eye Surgery, but we were able to offer an alternative: ICL Surgery.

What is ICL Surgery?

ICL Surgery is an alternative treatment to common refractive errors such as myopia and hyperopia. While Laser Eye Surgery works by changing the shape of the cornea to amend the way light is refracted into the eye, ICL surgery takes a different approach.

Implantable Collamer Lenses or ICLs are artificial lenses that can correct almost every possible prescription – including for short-sightedness (myopia) from -0.50 to -18.00 D.

ICL Surgery involves placing a carefully selected ICL behind the iris, in front of the eye’s natural lens. This lens will remain in place permanently, acting as an implanted contact lens.

Sara’s Experience with ICL Surgery

Before being approved for ICL Surgery, Sara visited our clinic on Harley Street to undergo a number of examinations. Our extensive screening and consultation process gives us the most accurate measurements and all the information we need to ensure the best possible outcome for all our patients.

As Sara explains, this process can be rather long as we make sure to learn as much as we can about your eyes: “It was about three hours or so. I was taken to various different rooms and had lots of different scans and tests on my eyes… It was very, very thorough, so it was a long time just really getting my prescription right, figuring out what would work.”

We also discussed with Sara the possibility of addressing her developing presbyopia by implanting two different kinds of ICLs – one for near vision and one for distance vision. This works in a similar way to bifocal glasses or PRESBYOND Laser-Blended Vision.

In the end, we recommended that Sara go ahead with ICL Surgery as we agreed that this treatment would deliver the best results. Next came the waiting game.

Luckily, we were able to offer Sara a treatment appointment much earlier than expected, so after some frantic rearranging of plans, she was ready to go ahead within just a matter of weeks. Understandably, the prospect of seeing clearly sooner than expected triggered a number of emotions.

“And now I’m also freaking out! I’ve realised I’m terrified, but also super excited that this actually might happen sooner than I originally thought.”

Preparing for Surgery

Four weeks before her scheduled surgery day, Sara headed back to the clinic to have some more scans. While Sara did have some scar tissue on her retina, our ophthalmologists gave her the final OK to go ahead with ICL surgery.

Even though Sara had been “freaking herself out” by watching videos of ICL Surgery online – don’t worry, this isn’t a prerequisite for treatment! Your surgeon will give you all the information you need to make the right decision for you.

As Sara notes, Professor Reinstein was “really lovely, really encouraging and supportive and excited, seemingly, about my eyes and about how he was going to be able to give me much better vision. So, that was really great.”

All that was left to do now was get ready for surgery in a few weeks’ time and pay a visit to Tony, the optician who pushed Sara to contact London Vision Clinic in the first place.

Surgery Day

Finally, Sara takes us with her on her journey to London Vision Clinic at the early hour of 06:00 on the day of her surgery. While she was admittedly worried about common things like ‘What happens if I sneeze?‘ or ‘What if I need the toilet?’, Sara was mostly ready to get the surgery over with!

On arrival at London Vision Clinic, Sara was walked through her itinerary for the day and provided with everything she will need for her recovery. After being given eye drops to numb the area and dilate her pupils, Sara was finally ready for her new vision! The procedure itself took around 10 minutes per eye.

Later that day, Sara explains the immediate feelings after surgery, including the discomfort and grittiness in and around her eyes. This is a common effect of ICL surgery that usually begins to improve within the first 24 hours post-surgery.

Most of all though, Sara describes how she immediately noticed an incredible difference in her vision. She even describes how she excitedly pointed out all the things she could read to her husband Graham when he came to pick her up from the clinic.

Clear vision for years to come…

A full week after ICL Surgery at London Vision Clinic, Sara was “excited to adjust to her new life without glasses and contacts.” After being given the green light by Professor Reinstein and her ophthalmologist, Sara is now able to enjoy unaided clear vision for the first time since she can remember.

If you are interested in ICL Surgery or would like more information about alternative treatments, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our friendly clinic coordinators. Alternatively, Book a Consultation today.