As the years pass, the natural crystalline lens of our eye looses it ability to focus light from different distances. This results in many individuals having to wear bifocals in order to see clearly. The Refractive Lens Exchange is a surgical procedure that replaces the source of the problem, the aging lens, with a an artificial advanced-technology intraocular lens. In some ways, the procedure is similar to cataract surgery which has evolved greatly over the last twenty years to a 15 minute, suture-less, laser and ultrasonic procedure. In cataract surgery, the natural crystalline lens is removed and replaced because it has become cloudy with age. In Refractive Lens Exchange, the natural crystalline lens of the eye is not cloudy but is removed and replaced with an artificial advanced technology intraocular lens in order reduce dependence on spectacles. Unlike laser vision correction and LASIK which addresses the power of the cornea, this form of surgical vision correction addresses the source of the blurry vision, the aging crystalline lens.
Who can have this surgery?
Patients above 18 years of age are eligible for this surgery. It is for people who want to reduce their dependence of visual aids such as glasses or contact lens. Patients should not have health issues that are affecting their eyes.
Rates of success and potential risks
Lens exchange is a safe surgical procedure. In healthy eyes, patients can expect a large reduction of their dependence on glasses and contact lenses. It is important that is procedure be performed by a qualified and experienced surgeon in order to minimize the risks of complications such as infection, hemorrhage, induced astigmatism, glaucoma, retinal detachment, and inflammation.
Refractive lens exchange can correct nearsightedness and farsightedness up to 20 diopters and 8 diopters respectively. There are several type of lens used in this procedure. The lens is chosen based on the patient’s lifestyle needs. Some of the options available are single-focus, multifocal , accommodative, and astigmatism-correcting lenses.
On the day of the surgery
This surgery can be performed as an outpatient procedure. A single eye is operated upon at one time. After applying anesthesia to the site of operation, the natural lens of the eye is removed gently through a tiny incision. A new intra-ocular lens is folded inside this incision and unfolded to surround the site of the original natural lens. The incision requires no stitches and seals on its own.
The goal of this surgery is to only reduce the dependence on visual aids. Complications with this surgery are extremely rare. However, it is advisable to seek consultation from a qualified and reputed eye surgeon to be on the safer side. Ensure you leave no stone unturned in getting all the information you require before the surgery.