I has EVO ICL Surgery – 4 Month Update

woman with EVO ICL

My first glasses

If you have followed me on Instagram Stories for awhile, you might remember that I got the EVO Implantable Collamer Lenses back in September 2022.  If you’ve never heard of it, it sounds super weird and futuristic.  Implanting contact lenses into your eyeball?!  Well, sort of!

I has EVO ICL Surgery – 4 Month Update

Let’s talk about what EVO ICL is, why I did it, and if I’d do it again.

What is ICL?

I’m doing a little copy and paste but implantable collamer lens (ICL) is an artificial lens that’s permanently implanted in the eye. It’s not a exactly contact lens but it’s it’s like implanting contacts because it’s your prescription. Implanting an ICL requires surgery (which is similar to cataract surgery). A surgeon places the lens between the eye’s natural lens and colored iris. The lens works the eye’s existing lens to bend (refract) light on the retina which produces clearer vision.  Unlike Lasik, it’s reversible.

What is EVO?

EVO is the brand of the ICL lens I used.  I had worked with EVO ICL on some Instagram content in the fall (but this post isn’t sponsored, I’m just recapping the process and giving an update).  You may have seen some ads featuring Joe Jonas as he was the face of EVO ICL last year.

Ok, but why did you do this and why didn’t you get Lasik?

I’m blind.  Like if the world ended and I didn’t have my glasses or contacts, I’d be dead immediately.  My contacts rx are -7 and have been for over 20 years.  Over the years, I’ve been told from various doctors that I’m a great candidate for Lasik.  But I was also told by one doctor that I’m on the cusp for Lasik (high myopia means thin corneas and thin corneas aren’t good for Lasik) so that one opinion always deterred me.  I never liked that Lasik tended to fade (many times people have to get it tweaked) and that it wasn’t reversible. 

I’m not knocking on Lasik–I know tons of people who have gotten it and loved it but that was always my hesitation.  EVO ICL is reversible and that’s what sold me.  ALSO, my big sister did the same ICL surgery a year prior and raved about it.  She has worse eyes than me and said it was a major life improving surgery.  Knowing that someone close to me had done ICL is what sold me.

Does it hurt?

Nope.  My husband can attest that I was a ball of nerves for about a month before the ICL surgery.  I mean, these are your EYES–you can’t take it lightly.  The surgery itself was so quick.  You basically get a Valium (optional but I needed it) which relaxes you, plus a ton of numbing eye drops.  It takes literally 4-5 minutes per eye and you don’t feel a thing, just a little pressure.  You have to chill at the facility for a couple hours after in a dark room so they can keep ensure your eye pressure is stable. 

Can you see immediately?

Not quite because your eyes are so dilated from the procedure.  It’s weird because you CAN actually see right after but it’s pretty blurry because of the dilation.   You definitely CANNOT drive yourself home.  I had it done first thing in the AM and rested/slept the rest of the day because my vision was so blurry.  When I woke up, I had another appointment in the city but my vision was clear enough to drive!  It was crazy.

What’s recovery like?

Lay low the day of surgery–you’ll need it.  But I went to dinner for Eric’s birthday the next day!  And I drove myself to my appointment in the city the next morning, just 24 hours later.  You have a strict regiment of eye drops for a week but I would say my vision was 20/20 within 48 hours.  In fact, it’s now 20/15 in both eyes which is BETTER than 20/20!  I went to Amsterdam two weeks after my surgery so I would say the downtime is extremely minimal.  The first day was the worst because it felt like you had an eyelash in your eyes.  It didn’t hurt, it was just a little irritated (naturally–you just had surgery).   

Where did you do it?

I did a lot of research and because it’s a procedure that’s not as popular as Lasik, not every doctor does it.  I went to Dr. Lancaster at Sharpe Vision in Old Town Chicago.  I HIGHLY recommend him.  He let me come in ask so many questions several times.  He also let me email and text him with any questions.  Sharpe Vision requires an intensive consultation to ensure you’re a good candidate and you have tons of follow up appointments to ensure everything is going well.  Sharpe Vision has locations in Austin and Seattle, too.

How much is it?  

It depends on your doctor and location but all in, you’ll find ranges from $6000-8500 in the US.  It’s more expensive than Lasik because not as many doctors do it and you’re also paying for the lens itself.  I do wonder if the price will go down if it gains in popularity (it’s much more popular in Europe and Asia).

Any regrets at all?

None, it’s actually insane that I can see all the time without contacts or glasses.  I wore glasses starting at age 6 and got contacts at age 12. When I had newborns, I’d stumble and bump into things looking for my glasses while trying to soothe the baby–I truly could not see a lick without contacts or glasses.  It’s such a life-changing experience.  In fact, Eric, my husband, wants to get it done now (his eyes aren’t quite as bad as mine but his contacts are starting to dry out his eyes and he’s tired of it).

Any other questions?  Ask away in the comments and follow me on Instagram for more updates!

woman with EVO ICL wearing hooded jacket

Immediately after the surgery

  • I also had ICL done when I graduated from high school back in 2004 and it was LIFE CHANGING. I had even worse eyes – 8.5 diopter correction and was not a good candidate for LASIK given the amount of cornea they would have had to cut for correction. I also didn’t love that LASIK cut into a non regenerative body part (cornea) or that there was such a potential for halos/light sensitivity.

    I was really risk averse and did one eye at a time (just in case) but this was also 20 (!) years ago. I have had zero complications and my vision remains perfect. It’s the BEST.

    • hi Serena! I remember chatting with you about it on instagram. Truly a life improvement procedure and am so glad it’s still going year two decades later – yay!! I do have some halos (moreso right after the surgery) but I don’t really notice them now unless I’m staring directing into a light source. It’s been amazing!

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