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My EVO ICL Journey: A Personal Perspective

By Nadia Virani, OD
Chief Clinical Officer, Vice President of Operations at EVP EyeCare

I’ve spent nearly a decade in the amazing world of surgical ophthalmology. From pre- and post-op procedures for anterior segment surgeries, including cataracts and refractive surgeries, to managing medical patients with conditions like diabetes, glaucoma and macular degeneration, my journey has been nothing short of thrilling. After six years of practice, I jumped into the business operations side and now lead a large multi-state, multi-unit ophthalmology group.

Despite all my experience, nothing prepared me for the life-changing experience of undergoing a vision correction procedure myself. Let me share my exciting journey with the EVO ICL—a cutting-edge technology that’s reshaping vision correction.

 What is the EVO ICL, and Why did I Choose it?

cutaway of evo icl on the eye
A cutaway of the EVO ICL. Courtesy of Staar Surgical.

So, what’s the buzz about the EVO ICL? This little marvel is an Implantable Collamer Lens designed to correct nearsightedness, with or without astigmatism. The lens is implanted between your iris and natural crystalline lens in a quick and safe 20-30 minute procedure. Unlike some other refractive surgeries, the EVO ICL doesn’t mess with your corneal tissue and is reversible if ever needed. It’s perfect for those with moderate to high nearsightedness, covering a range from -3.0 D to -15.0 D and correcting astigmatism from 1.0 D to 4.0 D.

Having watched ICL technology evolve over the years, I’ve been super impressed with the advancements, especially with the EVO ICL, which no longer requires those pesky pre-procedure peripheral iridotomies (PIs). My prescription isn’t off the charts (OD: -0.50 -3.00 x 170, OS: -2.50 -3.00 x 180), but my corneas are a bit on the thin side at around 470 microns. LASIK was an option, but the risks with my thin corneas made EVO ICL the safer bet. Plus, the ICL is reversible and causes less dry eye since the corneal incision is tiny and peripheral. Win-win!

My Pre-Op Experience

Before the surgery, I went through the full pre-op drill—a comprehensive eye exam with all the bells and whistles. There was dilation (yep, those drops still sting like crazy!), axial length measurements and a thorough check of my corneal integrity, including an endothelial cell count. We also did corneal topography to make sure there were no irregularities signifying potential keratoconus or other corneal disorders. All the pre-op prep ensured my eyes were in perfect condition for the procedure.

Surgery Day

photo show surgeon and Dr. Virani draped as she's having evo icls
Surgery day for Dr. Virani’s EVO ICLs. Photos courtesy of Dr. Virani.

The night before surgery, I followed the usual pre-op instructions—no eating after midnight and took my meds with a sip of water in the morning. I couldn’t resist joking with our surgical manager by pretending to drink a coffee when I walked in, which almost got my surgery canceled! I wore comfy clothes and a button-down shirt for easy access, checked in and went through the usual prep, including several rounds of dilating drops. Despite expecting a cold, sterile environment, the OR was filled with light-hearted banter.

evo icl procedure is done under light sedation
Dr. Viraini was under light sedation for the fast procedure.

During the surgery, under conscious sedation, I felt only slight pressure on my eye and saw a rainbow of colored lights. The whole thing took about 10 minutes per eye, though it felt like a much shorter time. Those drugs really do work, and I was certainly a happy camper on them! (A special thanks to my great friend, Jessica Knapp, RN, for holding my hand the whole time!)

As soon as it was over, I could already see noticeably better!

Post-Op and Recovery

After the surgery, I was rolled out and handed a refreshing glass of water. Almost instantly, I felt like myself again. The atmosphere was so upbeat that we even celebrated with cake! It’s not every day you get to enjoy cake post-surgery, but it was a perfect way to mark the occasion.

Just two hours later, I had my same-day post-op check. I was thrilled to discover that my vision was already 20/30 in each eye and 20/25 OU. My intraocular pressure was at a comfortable 12 OU, and the vault of the ICL was about 300 microns, which is right in the ideal range of 250-750 microns.

Dr. Virani sits up in surgical bed after her EVo ICL procedure. The surgical team is around her with cake
Let them eat cake! Dr. Virani and the surgical team celebrated after the procedure.

The first night, I was a bit worried about how my eyes would feel, but I followed all the post-op instructions diligently. I slept in a protective shield to avoid any accidental rubbing. By the next morning, my vision was already noticeably sharper. I experienced some initial dryness and a bit of glare from the lens perforation, especially around lights, but it was manageable.

Over the next few days, my vision kept getting better and better. The dryness started to subside, and by day three-ish, the glare had significantly diminished. It was such a relief to see these improvements so quickly. I kept using artificial tears as often as I could and avoided any heavy lifting!

Dr. Virani at a post op visit after EVO ICLs
At a post-op visit

Last week was one week post-op, and my vision is 20/15 OU. I’m tapering off my steroid drops and feeling more grateful than ever for this amazing technology. The whole experience has been incredibly smooth, and seeing the world so clearly without glasses or contacts is nothing short of magical. This journey has not only enhanced my vision but also deepened my appreciation for the work we do every day.

Exciting Opportunities

Going through the EVO ICL procedure has been an eye-opening experience, literally! It’s reinforced my passion for helping others achieve better vision through surgical correction. I’m incredibly grateful to my team and Kelly Frasier, MD, for providing this gift of sight. As EVO ICL technology continues to evolve, I hope we can incorporate it more widely into our practice, offering an excellent alternative for non-LASIK candidates and those seeking a reversible, minimally invasive solution.

Dr. Virani is also a sommelier. She has written a series of wine recommendations for WO.

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