Implantable contact lenses (ICL)

Implantable contact lenses (ICL) are soft, flexible implants to correct your vision. It’s a bit like having permanent contact lenses that you never have to take out, clean or think about.


Implantable contact lenses (ICL) offer highly effective vision correction and is suitable for patients with a very wide range of prescriptions.

The soft, flexible implants are similar to traditional contact lenses. They are implanted within the eye between the natural lens and the iris. You cannot see or feel ICLs after implantation, and they do not need to be cleaned.

All consultants who perform ICL surgery are EVO ICL accredited.

The benefits of ICL surgery

Implantable contact lenses can be used to treat a wide prescription range to deliver clearer, improved vision without permanent modification of the cornea such as with laser eye surgery. There is no thinning of the corneal and no risk of laser-induced dry eye.

You cannot see or feel ICLs after implantation, and they do not need to be cleaned. The artificial lens also contains UV protection, which prevents UV rays from affecting the eye and contributing to eye disorders. Another benefit of ICL is that the lens can be removed at a later date if clinically required, for instance, if cataract surgery is required later in life.

ICL can help patients who may not be suitable for other types of vision correction treatment and those seeking a removable/interchangeable vision correction option for future flexibility and peace of mind.

ICL are preferred to refractive lens exchange in younger patients because the natural lens is still flexible enough to allow you to read without glasses after correction of your distance vision.

Frequently asked questions about ICL

What does ICL eye surgery involve?

Your eyes will be assessed during the initial consultation and your prescription checked by an optometrist. A full medical history will also be taken to ensure the consultant is aware of any medical conditions that may affect your ability to undergo surgery. Your consultant will then be able to advise you on the most suitable procedure for you, as well as discussing the possible alternatives with you.

At Moorfields Private, your chosen consultant will supervise every stage of your care from start to finish for complete continuity and peace of mind.

During ICL surgery, either both eyes are treated on the same day, or the second operation typically a week after the first. Anaesthetic and sedatives are administered prior to treatment to ensure you experience minimal discomfort. A small keyhole incision (2-3mm) is then made in the edge of the cornea and the ICL is folded and inserted into the eye through this. Using a special delivery device, the lens implant is correctly positioned behind the iris and unfolds into place.

You may experience some side effects after the procedure, such as blurry vision, sensitivity to light, discomfort of the eyes and glare from lights in the dark, but these are only temporary.

If you are driving to your surgery appointment, you will need to arrange someone to drive you home on the day of your procedure. Everyone heals at different speeds and you should not drive until you feel completely comfortable doing so. Recovery time for ICL is fairly short and most patients can see well enough to return to work the day after surgery. You will return for a check-up at Moorfields a few weeks after your surgery.


Am I suitable for implantable contact lenses?

ICL is one of the vision correction solutions available at Moorfields Private and is suitable for patients with a very wide range of prescriptions, from low to severe myopia and hyperopia, with or without astigmatism, as well as those who are either not suitable for or reaching the borderlines of laser vision correction suitability. ICL is also considered to be a safer choice than laser eye surgery for anyone with pre-existing cornea or eye surface problems.

It can be a great option for those with high prescriptions, thin corneas, and existing dry eye risk factors or concerns. To give you a guide of the prescriptions that can be treated successfully, we would recommend up to -18.00D for short sightedness, +10.00D for long sightedness and up to + or -4.50D of astigmatism. If your prescription is beyond this, ICL surgery can be followed a few months later with laser treatment to correct any residual focusing issues.

Even though younger patients can be particularly suitable for ICL, you need to be over 21 years old to have the treatment and you also need to have a stable glasses prescription.

If you have other eye problems, such as cataracts, glaucoma or recurrent inflammation, then ICL may not be a suitable option. You will also need an eye scan at your first consultation to check that you have enough room in the front of your eye to fit the ICL safely.


What are the ICL risks?

There is a small risk with all forms of eye surgery, and these will be discussed with you in detail at your consultation. However, your chances of having problems are significantly reduced when you put yourself in expert hands and an approved clinical environment. You can rest assured that Moorfields Private Eye Hospital has a well-established safety track record with ICL treatment.

How much does ICL surgery cost?

Initial consultation


The initial consultation fee is £195. The full cost of your onward treatment will be confirmed once you have agreed your personalised plan with your consultant.



The cost of surgery is £4,079 for one eye or £7,497 for both eyes. This price is inclusive of your consultant’s professional fees, as well as your personalised care plan, detailed diagnostic tests and checks, and two follow up appointments for your aftercare. There may be circumstances where additional scans/tests are required that are outside the package price. Find out more about package pricing.

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