Refractive lens surgery

Refractive lens surgery – also called refractive lens exchange or lens replacement surgery – is a short procedure that can reduce or remove the need for reading glasses or contact lenses.

This procedure can be used to treat presbyopia, (where the eye cannot focus), short-sightedness, and severe far sightedness when laser surgery is not appropriate.

Refractive lens surgery involves removing the natural lens of the eye and replacing it with an artificial lens, called an intraocular lens  implant (IOL). These artificial lenses are available in a range of customised styles and strengths at Circle Health. A similar type of procedure is used in cataract surgery.

At Circle Health, lens replacement surgery is carried out as a short day case procedure by a leading eye surgeon. In most patients, the operation is performed under local anaesthetic but general anaesthesia is also available if needed. Before your treatment, your consultant will see you at a private appointment to explain the surgery, carefully assess your eyes, and decide which type and strength of intraocular lens would be most suitable for you.

The operation usually takes about 15 minutes. First, you will receive a few anaesthetic eye drops to numb the surface of your eye. Your natural lens will be removed by ultrasound through a tiny incision in the edge of the cornea – the transparent part of the font of the eye. The natural lens membrane will remain, and the new artificial lens implant is placed into this membrane.

Recovery is usually quick. You should be able to leave the hospital straight after the procedure. You will receive eye drops, guidelines for aftercare and a check-up to see your consultant a few days later.

Most patients are able to drive and return to work within a week, depending upon their consultant’s instructions. If both your eyes require lens replacement, these procedures are typically scheduled one to two weeks apart.

Like any surgery, there are some risks associated with this procedure. At Circle Health, your specialist eye consultant will discuss the benefits and risks of refractive lens replacement and intraocular lens implants with you, during a private consultation.


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