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Evo Visian ICL vs. LASIK: A Comparison Guide

Jonathan Pirnazar, M.D. – LASIK Surgeon

Medically Reviewed by Jonathan Pirnazar, M.D. – LASIK Surgeon

Fact Checked
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Last Updated

When it comes to the choice between Visian ICL vs. LASIK, it ultimately depends on individual factors. Depending on their needs, some patients are generally better suited for one procedure over the other. There are numerous differences between these two procedures, including what refractive errors they can correct—Evo Visian ICL can only correct nearsightedness while LASIK can correct astigmatism, farsightedness, and nearsightedness.

Key Facts About EVO ICL & LASIK

  • EVO ICL and LASIK are laser eye surgeries that can permanently reshape the cornea and adjust vision, reducing your reliance on glasses and contact lenses.
  • More refractive errors can be corrected with LASIK, but people with thin corneas or chronic dry eye may choose Visian ICLs instead to avoid potential side effects.
  • The lenses used with Visian ICL could have a potentially lower risk of side effects, may offer better long-term correction, and can be removed if needed.
  • The decision of which procedure is optimal for you is ultimately up to you and your eye doctor. Your eye professional can advise you on which option will work best for your specific situation.

ICL vs. LASIK: Understanding Both Procedures

Since the 1990s, medical researchers have created and improved new methods of managing refractive errors, including implantable lenses and laser-based surgery. These new treatment methods give patients more options than ever before that can ultimately free them from the daily commitment of contact lenses or glasses.

Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) is one of the most popular developments since contact lenses for correcting refractive errors, such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness not due to aging), and astigmatism, typically improving eyesight to 20/40 or better.It involves using a laser to remove tissue from your cornea to reshape it. 

On the other hand, Visian ICLs are a brand of phakic intraocular lenses (IOLs), which are like permanent contact lenses, so the cornea’s shape isn’t changed. This procedure treats nearsightness, with and without astigmatism. ICL surgery to implant these lenses is quick and easy. Toric ICLs, which are a type of Visian IOL, are approved for advanced cases of myopic astigmatism.

What Happens During ICL Surgery?

Although some surgery is involved with Visian implantable collamer lenses (ICLs), no lasers will remove tissue from your cornea to reshape that part of your eye. 

The implantation process for these flexible collamer lenses takes about 15 minutes per eye, using a very small incision from a laser or microkeratome.

Recovery time after this outpatient procedure is a little longer than LASIK, with vision returning to almost full clarity after seven days. Although healing takes more time, there are fewer side effects reported with Visian ICLs.

What Happens During LASIK Surgery?

The process takes around 15 minutes per eye, with much of that time involving prep for the operation. You will receive numbing eye drops and a device to hold your eyelids open. Then, either a microkeratome (a special, small surgical knife) or a laser will cut a flap from the top of your cornea.

Next, an excimer laser will remove tissue from strategic locations on the inside of the cornea to change its shape. The flap will be put back in place, and you will be sent home to relax for the rest of the day.

Many people have good vision the next day, although you may experience dry eyes, halos or glares around lights, and some blurry vision for a few days. Most people experience a gradual decrease in these symptoms over six months, as their eyes heal.

What Are the Differences Between Evo Visian ICL & LASIK?

LASIK and Visian implantable collamer lenses (ICLs) are very different technologies that can correct your refractive error to 20/40 visual clarity or better, in certain circumstances. Before deciding which works best for your needs, it is important to understand both procedures.

Key Differences Between Evo Visian ICL & LASIK

Evo Visian ICL LASIK 
Conditions treatedNearsightednessNearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism
When was it approved by the FDA?20051995
Cost$3,500–$5,000 per eye $1,500–$3,000 per eye
Procedure duration 20 minutes per eye 15 minutes per eye
Pain during procedureMinimal, as numbing eye drops are usedMinimal, as numbing eye drops are used 
Post-procedure painMinimalMinimal 
Recovery time7 days for clear vision; 3 months for full healing 7 days for clear vision; 6 months for full healing
Side effectsSensitivity to light, decreased night vision Itching, dry eyes, blurry vision 
Long-term effectsOvercorrection or undercorrection of the visual defectOvercorrection or undercorrection of the visual defect, scarring from the flap 

What Are the Similarities Between Evo Visian ICL & LASIK?

If you’re struggling with your vision, surgical procedures like Evo Visian ICL and LASIK could be good options. While they’re very different, they do have some overlap.

Evo Visian ICL and LASIK are similar due to the following factors:

  • Outcome: LASIK and Evo Visian ICL are permanent solutions to nearsightedness. 
  • Eligibility requirements: If you’re a candidate for ICL surgery, you’re older than 18, have no underlying eye problems, and have a stable prescription. Those same rules apply to LASIK. 
  • Cost: The cost of Visian ICL surgery and the cost of LASIK are similar, but ICL is more expensive. 
  • Risks and complications: The risks associated with LASIK are low and include overcorrection or undercorrection of your vision. Those same risks are shared by Evo Visian ICL.

Are you a good candidate for LASIK? Answer just four questions and get an answer from a qualified professional. Take our free LASIK candidate quiz.

Which Procedure Is Right for You: Evo Visian ICL or LASIK?

You don’t have to decide alone. A qualified surgeon can perform a detailed exam, explain the advantages and disadvantages of LASIK, and help you understand how Evo Visian ICL works. 

If you are a good candidate for LASIK, your eye doctor will likely recommend this procedure over Visian ICL, simply because it is more accessible, more doctors are trained to perform it, and it is less expensive.

Your doctor could use the following criteria when helping you decide:

  • Prescription: If you have farsightedness or astigmatism, LASIK is a better choice. Visian ICL is only for nearsightedness. 
  • Corneal thickness: Lasers remove corneal tissue during LASIK. If yours are already thin, you may not have enough to work with. 
  • Healing time: Some people want quicker results and can’t wait long periods for tissues to heal. 
  • Personal preferences: Some people simply want one surgery instead of the other for reasons that are personal. 
  • Lifestyle: Your job, hobbies, or other factors could make one type of surgery better for you than another. 
  • Potential complications: Your underlying health could make one option more attractive than another. 

If you are a good candidate for Visian ICL, or you prefer this treatment to LASIK, discuss the option with your optometrist or ophthalmologist. They can advise you on which procedure will be optimal for your situation and give you the best long-term results.

ProsCons
Evo Visian ICLGood for people with thin corneas or chronic dry eyesDoesn’t remove eye tissueLower risk for side effectsLenses can be removed if neededOnly corrects nearsightednessLonger healing time More expensive
LASIKCorrects any refractive errorQuicker healing timeMore affordableCannot be reversed

Frequently Asked Questions

These are the most common questions people ask about the differences between Evo Visian ICL and LASIK:

Is Evo Visian ICL better than LASIK?

These two procedures are very different, and one isn’t better than another. Your doctor can examine your eyes, discuss your preferences, and help you decide which is better for you.

Does Evo Visian ICL last as long as LASIK?

Both LASIK and Evo Visian ICL are meant to last a lifetime. Neither will wear off or fade away later. But your vision might change after the procedures are complete for unrelated reasons.

Is Evo Visian ICL cheaper than LASIK?

These procedures come with a very similar price tag. Insurance coverage of Visian ICL and LASIK is limited, but you can use HSAs and FSAs to help cover the cost.

Is Evo Visian ICL eye surgery safer than LASIK?

Both procedures are incredibly safe, and thousands of people get them every year. Evo Visian ICL is reversible, meaning you can have the lens replaced later if it’s not right for you, but it’s not necessarily safer.

References

  1. Laser In Situ Keratomileusis. (July 2022). StatPearls.
  2. The Retina: A Window into the Brain. (December 2021). Cells.
  3. Phakic Intraocular Lenses: An Overview. (December 2020). Indian Journal of Ophthalmology.
  4. Refractive Outcomes and Safety of the Implantable Collamer Lens in Young Low-to-Moderate Myopes. (January 2017). Clinical Ophthalmology.

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