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Refractive lens exchange is offered by The London Clinic as an alternative to laser eye surgery for patients who are not suitable for LASEK/PRK or LASIK, or for people who need eyesight correction and who are already starting to form cataracts.

What is refractive lens exchange?

Refractive lens exchange is a more extensive form of eye surgery than laser eye surgery. If you have refractive lens exchange, your natural eye lens is removed, and then replaced with an artificial lens made from silicone or high-grade plastic. The optical properties of the inserted lens can correct almost any refractive defect, including short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism in some cases.

Who benefits from refractive lens exchange?

Your sight can be corrected successfully by having the lenses inside your eyes replaced if you are:

  • Aged over 40.
  • You have the early signs of cataract formation.
  • Your short or long sight is too marked to make you a good candidate for laser eye surgery.

Bioptics at The London Clinic

Bioptics is a technique used to solve more complex refractive eye problems; it involves having more than one technique. Patients will typically undergo refractive lens exchange to correct the majority of the refractive defect that is impairing their vision.

Then, once the eye has healed sufficiently, we can use LASEK/PRK or LASIK laser eye surgery to remodel the cornea to treat any residual refractive error.

This does mean multiple procedures and a more complex treatment plan for individual patients, but even those who thought their sight could not be improved by surgery can end up with 20:20 vision without glasses or contact lenses.

Refractive lens exchange: the procedure in detail

The patient experience with refractive lens exchange is very similar to that for cataract surgery. The operation is done as a day case procedure and you will not need to stay in hospital overnight. We will only perform refractive lens exchange surgery on one eye at a time, with the other eye done one to 2 weeks later.

Lens choices in refractive lens exchange

The lens choices available for refractive lens exchange are the same as for cataract surgery:

  • Monofocal lenses, which mean that you would still require glasses for certain tasks
  • Multifocal lenses, which allow you to see distance and near from each eye

Lens choice is very individual and will be dependent on your requirements and on our assessments of your eyes. Your consultant will discuss everything in detail before you need to make your decision.

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