Refractive Lens Exchange Surgery Procedure & Recovery
Lens replacement surgery lasts for approximately 15 minutes and is carried out independently for each eye, with a wait of almost a week between the two eyes. During lens replacement, numbing aesthetic drops are applied so no discomfort is experienced in the eyes. Most people will report immediate visual improvement a few days after surgery.
The procedure you undergo will depend on whether you’re having PIOL or RLE surgery. With PIOL, the natural lens isn’t removed and it’s almost like a permanent contact lens is built into your eye. However, because this lens is located inside your eye, it isn’t as restrictive as a contact lens.
Alternatively, RLE often follows much the same procedure as cataract surgery. This means the natural lens of the eye is removed before a replacement lens (a multifocal or monofocal one) is put in its place. The natural lens is often removed using phacoemulsification, which liquefies the lens so it’s easy to extract.
On the path to full recovery patients may experience a few episodes of discomfort such as blurred vision, halos and glare. Most patients can go back to work within a week of the surgery, although you may need to wait 2 weeks before driving again – your surgeon will guide you on this.
You will not be able to see an artificial lens on your eye as it is placed inside your eye, unlike a contact lens. The lenses are meant to last a lifetime as there is a negligible risk of regression (deteriorating of corrective vision) due to factors related to ageing. If problems do arise, the lens can be replaced easily without any permanent damage being done.