Our eyes are our windows to the world. They are how we take in the beauty of a spring day, see our kids across the soccer field, watch a Broadway production or simply look at our loved ones! But sometimes, those windows need help. Perhaps they’re not giving you the clarity you would like. Or you’d like to be able to take everything in free from glasses or contacts. Fortunately, there are two procedures that can open a whole new world for you. You may already be familiar with the popular procedure, LASIK eye surgery. But have you heard of the EVO ICL? Through this article, we’ll share the differences between EVO ICL vs. LASIK and hopefully open your eyes to options that could change how you see the world. Literally.

A Quick Look at LASIK

Before we dive into EVO ICL vs. LASIK, let’s start with a quick look at LASIK. LASIK is probably the best-known and most-performed procedure for vision correction. In simple terms, laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) is used to alter the shape of your cornea to improve your vision with the goal of eliminating the need for glasses or contacts. It’s most often used to correct nearsightedness (myopia) and astigmatism (uneven flattening of the cornea), but it can also correct farsightedness (hyperopia) and age-related farsightedness (presbyopia). With each of these conditions, the way light enters the eye and hits the retina at the back of the eye is distorted. The result, blurred vision, is pretty inconvenient after you have waited in line all day at the DMV to update your driver's license. During LASIK eye surgery, a very precise laser, meticulously programmed by your LASIK surgeon based on extensive diagnostic tests and calculations, is used by your eye surgeon to reshape your cornea to correct your particular vision issue.

According to the American Refractive Surgery Council, more than 20 million LASIK procedures have been performed since it was first approved by the FDA more than 20 years ago. The procedure can be completed in about the amount of time it takes to pick up takeout or have it delivered. Most patients experience minimal to no discomfort, and the results are almost immediate. The latest research reports that 99 percent of patients achieve better than 20/40 vision, and more than 90 percent achieve 20/20 or better. In addition, LASIK has an unprecedented 96 percent patient satisfaction rate–the highest of any elective procedure.

What Is EVO ICL, and How Does It Work?

EVO stands for the evolution of vision correction. The ICL stands for Implantable Collamer Lens. Together, they represent an alternative to LASIK, EVO ICL, for some patients as a way to correct nearsightedness or astigmatism.

The ICL procedure was FDA approved in 2005 but has been performed worldwide for many years prior to FDA approval. During the EVO ICL procedure, your surgeon meticulously implants a collamer lens, which looks very similar to a contact lens, just below the surface of your eye. Collamer is a biocompatible material that is a blend of a specially formulated polymer and purified collagen that is similar to what is already found in your cornea. With EVO ICL, the shape of the cornea is not being surgically altered, nor is any tissue being removed. You’re simply enhancing your existing vision by having a collagen-based lens implanted just below the surface of the eye through a minimally invasive procedure so you can see more clearly. The EVO ICL works with your eye’s natural lens to improve your vision by increasing your focusing power. A STAAR survey of more than 1,500 EVO ICL patients found that 99.4% said they would undergo the procedure again.

When It Comes to the Procedures, What’s the Difference?

As mentioned earlier, the primary difference from a surgical standpoint between EVO ICL vs. LASIK is that, with ICL, no corneal tissue is removed, and the EVO ICL can treat a much higher level of nearsightedness. LASIK actually involves reshaping the cornea by removing tissue. EVO ICL involves implanting the collamer lens in front of the eye’s natural lens, directly behind the iris. During the EVO ICL procedure, the surgeon makes a microscopic incision in the cornea. The soft, flexible lens is then inserted into place. The procedure takes place in the Providence Eye & Laser Specialists office and typically takes 40 minutes for both eyes. You will need a driver to take you home, where you will sleep for a couple of hours. Most patients see immediate results and are literally shocked! The norm for our EVO ICL patients at Providence Eye is they are 20/20 or better the next morning.

With a LASIK procedure, your surgeon at Providence Eye creates a thin flap in your cornea using the WaveLight FS 200 laser, then lifts and folds the flap back, similar to turning the pages of a magazine. Our surgeon uses the WaveLight EX500 laser to reshape your cornea. During the procedure, the position of your eye is measured 500 times a second, yes, per second! This ultra-fast eye-tracking system ensures surgical precision, and if your eye moves too much, the laser automatically shuts down. Finally, the corneal flap is put back in place and immediately begins to naturally heal and seal. LASIK takes around 15 minutes for both eyes. You will need a driver to take you home, where you will sleep for about 4 hours. Many patients see an immediate improvement in their vision. At Providence Eye, the norm for our LASIK patients is they are 20/20 or better by the next morning.

EVO ICL vs. LASIK Eye Surgery

To be clear, pun intended, EVO ICL and LASIK aren’t competitive procedures. They each have a place and are performed for different reasons to address different conditions and underlying circumstances. As we look closer into EVO ICL vs. LASIK, some people just aren’t good candidates for LASIK. The primary obstacles include moderate to severe nearsightedness, dry eyes or thin corneas. But that’s where EVO ICL becomes a viable option to consider if you’re looking to ditch the hassle of glasses and contacts. While there are some rare risks and side effects associated with each procedure, they usually correct themselves over time.

Here is a general overview of how the two surgeries are different and who is an ideal candidate for each procedure.


Candidates for Procedure:

  • Between 21 - 45 years old
  • Good eye health
  • Have a stable prescription for at least one year

Conditions Treated:

  • Moderate to severe myopia (nearsightedness) -3.0 up to -20.0
  • Astigmatism
  • Thin corneas
  • Prone to dry eyes

Length of Procedure:

  • 45-60 minutes for both eyes

Scope of Procedure:

  • Intraocular
  • Minimally invasive

Level of Discomfort:

  • Minimal

When Will You See Results:

  • Immediately, with improvement over the next 24 hours

Recovery Time:

  • 24 hours

Other Benefits:

  • Maintenance-free vision
  • Removable by a doctor if desired or required
  • Extra layer of UV protection


Candidates for Procedure:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Good eye health
  • Have a stable prescription for at least one year

Conditions Treated:

  • Mild to moderate myopia (nearsightedness) -0.75 up to approximately -10.0 depending on corneal structure
  • Astigmatism
  • Farsightedness
  • Age-related presbyopia

Length of Procedure:

  • 15-20 minutes for both eyes

Scope of Procedure:

  • Surface of the eye
  • Non-invasive

Level of Discomfort

  • Minimal

When Will You See Results

  • Immediately for some people, with improvement every hour

Recovery Time

  • 24 hours

Other Benefits

  • Maintenance-free vision

At Providence Eye & Laser Specialists, your surgeon will meet with you during your consultation to discuss your specific vision challenges. They will review your vision correction options, along with the inherent risks and side effects possible with each procedure. For some, wearing contact lenses may carry a higher risk than any procedure your surgeon presents. In any case, have confidence that your doctor at Providence Eye will help you determine the best course of treatment for long-lasting improved vision.

Long-term Outlook After Vision Correction Surgery

When it comes to the long-term results of EVO ICL vs. LASIK, they both have tremendous longevity! LASIK surgery changes the shape of your cornea, and if properly evaluated and deemed an ideal candidate, the expectation is that the results of a LASIK procedure can last 20 years or more. This is, of course, dependent on your age, the health of your eyes and your whole-body health. If a LASIK patient does experience changes in their vision, which is rare, then a second treatment is often times possible.

EVO Implantable Collamer Lens is designed to stay in your eye permanently. However, if necessary or desired, it can be removed or changed by your doctor. As patients age (mid-40s and beyond), have eye health issues (cataracts) or whole-body health issues, they may experience changes in their vision not related to their EVO ICL procedure which may require additional steps to be taken.

Potentially a Great Alternative to LASIK

For the past 20 years, Dr. Mozayeni and Dr. Nunnery at Providence Eye & Laser Specialists have helped tens of thousands of people in the Carolinas improve their vision, not just with all-laser LASIK but also with the EVO ICL. Although not commonly known yet, this exciting vision correction procedure has been FDA-approved since 2005, and more than 2 million lenses have been implanted worldwide! While there are many differences between EVO ICL vs. LASIK, both vision correction procedures are FDA-approved, safe for the appropriate person when performed by a qualified surgeon and help to improve your vision and experience visual freedom.

Looking to say goodbye to your glasses or contacts?

Schedule a complimentary consultation to discover if EVO ICL is an option for you.