Oculase Articles

How successful is lens replacement surgery?

Mr Tariq Ayoub - 29 Jun 2021

Many of us experience some degree of short-sightedness, long-sightedness, and/or astigmatism. We can often manage these conditions with glasses, contact lenses, or laser eye surgery. However, some people find these undesirable or unsuccessful.

Lens replacement surgery – or refractive lens exchange (RLE) – is a very effective way to achieve clear, comfortable vision. This blog will help you understand what you can expect from this type of eye surgery and how successful it is.

man reading after lens replacement success

What is lens replacement surgery?

Lens replacement surgery is an adapted version of cataract surgery that we use to correct refractive errors. These include astigmatism, long-sightedness, short-sightedness, and presbyopia (problems focusing due to age-related eye changes).

The procedure involves replacing your ageing natural lens with an advanced synthetic lens implant. This implant is permanent, as we usually don’t need to reverse it, and it reduces your reliance on glasses or contact lenses for almost all activities.

RLE surgery may be more appropriate if you are middle age or older, not suitable for laser vision correction, and want to avoid using glasses. You may not be suitable for laser correction if you have a high prescription refractive error or an early-stage cataract.


Success rates

With age, your natural lens starts to degrade, which makes it harder to perform at its best. RLE/lens replacement surgery gives you better vision in a huge range of situations, correcting any refractive error you may have. It is safe, effective, and one of the most successful eye surgeries available.

After a brief recovery, 95% of people can pass an eye test to the driving standard without needing glasses, and about 90% won’t need glasses or contact lenses for any activities. A few people may still occasionally need reading glasses, for example for extended reading periods, looking at very small print or in poor lighting.

In this video, our Founder and Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon, Mr Tariq Ayoub, explains more. 

Additional benefits

As we implant the lens inside the eye, you’ll be able to do activities where glasses or contact lenses aren’t suitable, such as swimming. 

It gives you greater freedom to switch between tasks without needing to remember to have a pair of glasses on you all the time. You also won’t develop a cataract if you have had the surgery.


Lens replacement procedure

You can choose to have one eye treated at a time or both eyes treated on the same day. If you want treatment for both eyes on separate days, we will schedule the appointments a few days apart to ensure your comfort.

During the surgery, our eye surgeon uses ultrasound to gently soften your natural lens, which we then remove and replace with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens implant. Our video discusses this further: How is refractive lens exchange (RLE) surgery performed?

The procedure is painless because we use eye drops to numb the eye and, if needed, a mild sedative to help you relax. The entire surgery typically takes less than 10 minutes, and you can return home the same day. Read our blog Refractive lens exchange surgery: What is the process? to learn more about this procedure and who is suitable.


What are my lens options?

There are many types of lens implants for RLE surgery, including bifocal, trifocal, extended depth of focus (EDOF) and premium monofocal. At Oculase, we use trifocal lenses in most cases and EDOF in some. We only recommend premium monofocal lenses if you are not suitable for trifocal or EDOF lenses.

Trifocal lenses give more haloes and glare but less dependence on glasses as they get good vision at 3 distances: distance, intermediate and near.

EDOF gives less haloes and glare with a continuous range of vision from distance to intermediate, but you will need glasses for reading. Mr Tariq Ayoub recommends EDOF lenses for people who do not want any haloes or glare.

Toric lens implants are astigmatism-correcting lenses. Trifocal, EDOF, premium monofocal and standard monofocal also come in a toric version to correct the astigmatism.

There is more information on these lenses here: Types of lens implants used in cataract surgery. 


Possible side effects of lens replacement surgery

The most common side effects are slight discomfort, sensitivity, and blurred vision or glare during your recovery. However, these should improve quickly in the days and weeks after surgery.

Like all operations, this procedure has some risks. However, they are rare, and we can usually correct complications with further treatment when necessary. According to the NHS, the risk of a serious complication, such as significant loss of vision, after this procedure is about 1 in 500. For more information, you can download a patient guide here.

The lenses should last for the rest of your lifetime, but your eyes can change over time. If this happens, you might need another procedure in later years to treat new vision problems.


Lens replacement surgery recovery

After the lens replacement, your vision should be at near-normal levels, and some people will notice visual improvements within a day. On average, the recovery time is about two weeks. To help your eyes recover, we will provide you with anti-inflammatory and antibiotic eye drops.

A few days of slight discomfort, glare or blurred vision is completely normal while you recover and your eye adjusts. You should be able to return to work after the first few days, but you can’t drive until we have checked your sight during a follow-up appointment. 


Book an appointment

Ready to achieve clear, comfortable vision without the hassle of glasses or contact lenses? Choose Oculase for lens replacement surgery.

Our state-of-the-art procedure corrects refractive errors, providing enhanced vision and freedom from cataracts. Join the 95% of people who meet the driving standard without glasses and embrace a more natural visual experience with our trifocal lenses.

Let us guide you through the process, addressing any concerns or questions you may have along the way. We are here to ensure your comfort, satisfaction, and long-term visual health. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

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About the author

Mr Tariq Ayoub
Mr Tariq Ayoub, Consultant Ophthalmologist

Mr Ayoub has been rated as one of the top eye surgeons in the UK. He is a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London, one of the largest NHS trusts in England. He is also the Lead for the Emergency Department at Western Eye Hospital, as part of the Imperial College Trust.

Mr Ayoub completed his Ophthalmology training at the prestigious London School of Ophthalmology, namely at Moorfields Eye Hospital and Royal Free Hospital. During his career, he has received many prestigious awards from national and international organisations for his work in the field of ophthalmology.

His clinical interests include treatment for cataracts, vision correction, corneal disease, eye-lid disorders, trauma, and general ophthalmology. Mr Ayoub prides himself on the high quality of his work. With his extensive experience, he can holistically manage complex eye conditions to deliver the best care for his patients.

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