Refractive Lens Exchange, or Clear Lens Extraction, also referred to as lens replacement surgery, is a procedure in which the natural crystalline lens in the eye is removed and replaced with an artificial, silicon, intraocular lens of specific power, to correct the refractive error of the eye. The procedure is similar to cataract surgery
What is Refractive Lens Exchange?
Our eyes have two main structures that help to focus light. The cornea, which is the clear, curved surface at the front of the eye, and the crystalline lens inside our eyes. The cornea can be adjusted with laser vision correction in order to reduce or eliminate one's need for spectacles or contact lenses.
The lens has the ability to adjust its curvature in order to focus at different distances. When nature takes its course (typically in our mid 40’s), this ability to adjust focus diminishes due to hardening of the lens (presbyopia). With further ageing (and other factors) the lens can become cloudy (cataract) which results in poor vision. Refractive Lens Exchange involves the surgical removal of the natural crystalline lens and replacement with a synthetic Intra Ocular Lens (IOL) implant of the required power to improve vision and adjust focus to reduce or eliminate the need for spectacles or contact lenses. Refractive Lens Exchange and cataract surgery are essentially the same procedure – the only difference being whether the treatment is designed for refractive purposes alone or if there is a cataract present.
Refractive Lens Exchange or lens replacement surgery can be considered for patients who wish to be less dependent on glasses or contact lenses and for whom laser vision correction may not be the best or only option to improve vision. For some patients, there is an overlap of choices available to them and it is important to consider the relative benefits and risks of these different options on an individual basis.
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