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What Is Lens Replacement Surgery

11th April 2022

Laser eye surgery isn’t the only option to help restore people’s eyesight. You could instead get lens replacement surgery, which involves surgically replacing the eye’s natural lens with an artificially implanted one.

Due to technological advances, corrective vision procedures have become more accessible and commonplace, making people forgo glasses and contacts for a more permanent solution. 

There are various types of lens replacement surgery available, including:

  • Cataract Surgery – the removal of the cloudy natural lens of the eye (the cataract) and replacing it with a carefully selected intraocular lens.
  • Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) – the replacement of the natural lens in the eye, with a new lens implant to correct any degree of long or short-sightedness and astigmatism.
  • Sulcoflex DUET Lens Exchange – involves the simultaneous or sequential implantation of a primary capsular bag IOL and a supplementary Trifocal sulcus IOL
  • Implantable Contact Lens – a micro-thin lens implant that is able to correct very high prescriptions

Why lens replacement surgery might be appropriate for you?

As with all eye treatments, in order to properly determine whether lens replacement surgery will be the best procedure for you and your specific situation, it’s essential that you first book a consultation with an expert eye surgeon on the team. They will be able to skillfully assess you to see if you are eligible for lens replacement surgery or what other treatment may be better suited to your situation. 

A consultation is crucial as laser eye surgery isn’t necessarily the best option for patients over the age of 45. This is because your lens naturally starts to change and lose its functionality at this age, making the longevity of laser treatment unpredictable.

You may also not be eligible for laser eye surgery treatments if you have a high amount of refractive errors as there are limits on how much corneal tissue can be removed. In this case, a good alternative is lens replacement surgery such as refractive lens exchange.

How does lens replacement Surgery work?

The procedure involves accurate measurements of the eye being taken prior to surgery to allow for a bespoke lens to be created to provide a precise correction to your vision. 

The eye’s original lens is then replaced with a new biocompatible artificial one. The lens implant works to correct the vision by having a prescription unique to the patient’s refractive error, either mono-or multi-focal.

Similar to procedures like LASIK, it is performed under local anaesthetic, however, each eye needs to be treated separately a week apart. The procedure takes between just ten and fifteen minutes and has virtually no discomfort or pain. Recipients will be able to return home the same day and often see an immediate improvement to their vision. 

What different lenses are available

There are various lens options available, and which option is best for you will be determined during your consultation, with key factors including your age and vision correction requirements taken into consideration. 

Some lenses will perform better in certain circumstances than others, and that’s why you must be assessed in-depth prior to receiving the treatment to determine which lenses will be most appropriate for you, given your lifestyle, age and prescription requirements.    

Mono-focal Lens Implant

The most common lens to be implanted is a mono-focal lens, designed to give patients better vision specifically for one focal length, typically long-sightedness. This means that recipients of this procedure will likely still require reading glasses for near vision.

Multifocal/Bifocal Lens Implants

As the name implies, this type of lens implant corrects both distance and short-sighted vision allowing for a total depth of focus and eliminating or reducing the need for glasses. These high-performance lenses require a cornea with good optical properties and a surface free of dryness and no streaky tear film.

Accommodative lens implants

These implanted lenses move in response to your eye muscles, similar to how the natural eye lens would, providing excellent distance and near vision. They reduce the potential side effects of the multi-focal lens, providing an extended range of vision perfect for those wishing to reduce their dependence on glasses or contacts.

Toric lens implants

Toric lens implants can be either mono- or multi-focal and are specifically for people with astigmatism. Astigmatism is imperfect eye curvature that causes blurred distance and near vision. Because every astigmatism differs, Toric lenses need to be customised to the recipient to suit the individual eye it is made for. 

Benefits of lens replacement surgery

The procedure’s outcome is very stable, resulting in a significantly reduced dependence on corrective eyewear. The treatment is fast, with a minimal recovery time that doesn’t impact your lifestyle. 

The treatment is perfect for treating a variety of different eye concerns or issues, including myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, astigmatism and people prone to developing cataracts. 

It’s completely natural to be nervous about having eye surgery. However, millions of procedures are done every year and it is one of the safest medical treatments you can get done to your eyes. With any rare complications able to be resolved with follow-up treatment.  

While your vision may fluctuate for a few months immediately after surgery, the newly implanted lenses do not carry the risk of regression. Therefore they will not need replacing and are left in place, giving patients stable refraction for life. Because lens replacement surgery removes the natural lens, the procedure also eliminates the potential for developing cataracts later in life. 

Speak with an eye surgery consultant

At LaserVision, we operate across the UK in a number of hospital-based clinics. If you are interested in finding out more about replacement lens exchange and your suitability, please call us on 0800 024 8888 and we will be happy to arrange a consultation.

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