Lens Replacement Surgery Treatments

Written by Joy Watford

Medically reviewed by Dr. Matthew J. Miller, OD

Updated 20th July 2020

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Presbyopia is an age related condition which effects us all after the age of 40 – even those of us who have never had issues with their eyesight before. 

It is the slow decline in our ability to focus on objects close-up and it can lead to eyestrain and headaches.

Presbyopia surgery is a variation on standard lens exchange. 

Hyperopia (long-sightedness) is a very common genetic eye condition that normally starts to effect people from age 45 as they begin to notice objects in the distance are seen more clearly than those that are closer.

Those born with the condition tend to have shorter eyeballs that the rest of the population or the cornea is too flat.

Glasses or contact lenses can be used to overcome the condition but laser or lens surgery offers a long term solution. 

Myopia, also known as short-sightedness or nearsightedness, is a common eye condition with around a 1/3 of the UK population suffering from i. It is estimated that up to 50% of the world’s population will have some form of the condition by 2050.[1]Holden BA, Fricke TR, Wilson DA et al. Global Prevalence of Myopia and High Myopia and Temporal Trends from 2000 through 2050. Ophthalmology. 2016; 123:1036-42

If you are short-sighted, objects in the distance will seem blurry whilst you will be able see close-up objects clearly. The severity of myopia can vary with mild cases requiring no treatment and more acute cases having a severe impact on vision.

Astigmatism effects about 24% of the population[2]Prevalence of refractive error in Europe (2015) , European Journal of Epidemiology. Astigmatism occurs when the cornea is misshapen and can be detected in a routine eye test. Most astigmatism patients are born with the condition and it is caused when the transparent tissue layer at the front of the eye is not as spherical as it should be causing images to become blurry and distorted.

Astigmatism also tends to occur alongside other refractive problems such as longsightedness and shortsightedness. It can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, laser eye surgery or lens surgery.

A cataract occurs when the naturally clear lens located behind the pupil and iris becomes cloudy. Patients will often complain of blurred vision and if left untreated the crystalline lens will start to turn cloudy and opaque. Normally, both eyes will be affected by cataracts simultaneously although the disease can develop rapidly in one eye rather than the other.

It is estimated that 30% of people 65 years or older have a visually impairing cataract in one or both eyes and 10% in this age group have already had cataract surgery. 

Lens Types

There are four types of intraocular lenses which can be used as replacements for your eye’s natural lens. The choice you are offered will depend on your eye condition and what is available at the clinic you select. 

Monofocal lenses will normally only fix issues with distance vision and are used for patients who don’t mind continuing to use glasses for specific tasks such as reading.


The more advanced (and normally more expensive) multifocal lenses can correct long- and short-sightedness at the same time and, therefore, eliminate the need for glasses altogether.

Between 5-10% of patients who opt for multifocal lenses suffer from some kind of halo or glare when looking at lights at night, but most claim that this is something that they adapt to relatively quickly.

This type of lens is not able to correct astigmatism which normally requires a toric lens.

A toric lens is designed to correct moderate to high corneal astigmatism. It should remove the need for glasses for distance vision, but you will still need reading glasses.

Your chosen clinic may also have trifocal lenses which are designed to give very high resolution images and exceptional contrast sensitivity at all light conditions and distances.

You are suitable if:

You are not suitable if:

  • Phakic Intraocular Lens Implantation Patient Guide, Royal College of Ophthalmologists (Reviewed May 2018)
  • Refractive Lens Exchange Patient Guide, Royal College of Ophthalmologists  (Reviewed May 2018)
  • Prices published on UK laser eye surgery clinics in July 2020.
  • Small-Incision Lenticule Extraction (ReLEx SMILE). Medscape. emedicine.medscape.com (updated 27 June 2017)
  • LASIK – laser eye surgery. American Academy of Ophthalmology. www.aao.org (published 12 December 2015)