Tommy Hardeman can't believe how crisp the leaves look these days.

"Everything is so clear," he says, "I'm still not fully used to not wearing glasses or contacts."

This 20-year-old college student didn't get 20-20 vision from laser eye surgery - he's wearing permanent contact lenses.

Implantable contact lenses, known as ICL, involves a minimally-invasive surgery with a single self-healing cut. The lens is inserted in front of the eye's own lens, behind the pupil. Patients remain awake for the entire process, which lasts 10 minutes per eye.

Canada was actually the first North American jurisdiction to approve the technique in 2001.

"Patients are really thinking this is better than sliced bread," says Dr. Jeffrey Whitman, an eye surgeon in Fort Worth, Texas.

ICL costs $3,000 to $4,000 per eye, which is more than Lasik procedures that forever change the cornea's shape. But with ICL, anything can be undone without leaving permanent damage.

Implantable contact technology has advanced to reach any patient eligible for Lasik surgery, as well as those who aren't candidates. And there are less downsides.

For Hardeman, ICL left him with more options than the alternative methods. He can now see the blackboard and read small text - without glasses or contacts.