Lens replacement surgery overview
Lens replacement is becoming an increasingly popular procedure which can help correct a number of eye conditions like near-sightedness and farsightedness. It can also be used to treat cataracts, which largely affect adults over the age of 50, helping them see the world clearly once more.
For a lot of people, lens replacement surgery is the best chance for them to improve their vision, especially if laser eye surgery isn’t a viable option. Like laser eye surgery, it can help to reduce the reliance on corrective lenses like contacts and prescription glasses.
The procedure to replace the lens involves removing the natural lens, that is problematic, and replacing it with an artificial one. This treatment can effectively correct problems like cataracts and help restore clear vision.
Due to the nature of lens replacement surgery, there are many types of artificial lens that can be used to achieve the desired outcome. To find out what is best for you, your surgeon will need to conduct an assessment to recommend the most suitable replacement lens.
At Mhc, we don’t give any healthcare advice or recommendations, but strive to assist you in your journey to finding a care provider who can carry out the treatment you need.
What is lens replacement?
Lens replacement also referred to as Refractive Lens Exchange, Refractive Lens Replacement or Clear Lens Surgery, is a procedure that involves the permanent removal and replacement of the natural lens of the eye with an artificial intraocular lens.
It is most commonly used for cataract surgery, but results have shown to affect a person’s ability to focus on near, intermediate and distant objects, reducing the reliance on glasses and contact lenses.
Why have lens replacement surgery?
There can be many conditions that affect the eye and cause problems with your vision. Lens replacement, for some people, can be a real opportunity to regain or improve their sight.
Here are some of the reasons why people may choose to have lens replacement surgery:
- Improved vision
- Be more independent
- Improved self-confidence
- Better mental health
- Less falls
- A greater enjoyment of social activities and passions and hobbies
Am I suitable for lens replacement?
Lens replacement surgery may be just what you need if you have any of the following:
- Dependence on bifocal, varifocal or multifocal contact lenses or glasses
- Long-sightedness (hyperopia)
- Short-sightedness (myopia)
How much does lens replacement surgery cost?
The cost of lens replacement surgery can vary because it depends on many contributing factors, including where you choose to have the procedure, the extent of the surgery, type of lens used and the what the treatment is for.
There may be other factors which impact the cost of lens replacement surgery, but looking at the available online costing resources, surgery in the UK ranges from £1,500 to £3,500 with a median average of cost of £2,200.
How to choose where to go for a lens replacement surgery?
Typically, when looking for a hospital or clinic in the UK you should check to see if they’re registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The CQC are the independent regulator of all health and social care services in England, responsible for monitoring and regulating hospital and care services. There you will be able to access reports and ratings to help you make the best choice
At Mhc, we have developed a user-friendly healthcare directory portal for people looking for treatments, like lens replacement surgery, to easily search for, find and contact hospitals and clinics in the UK. To make things even easier for patients and visitors, we take extra care to ensure that all clinics and hospitals we work with are registered with the CQC or similar regulators.
In addition to finding a place to have lens replacement surgery, you should also research and assess the doctor that will carry out the surgery. All doctors must be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). There you can access the surgeon’s work history.
Although Mhc can help you find a clinic, hospital or doctor, we urge you to thoroughly assess and research the care providers you choose before moving forward.
What does lens replacement surgery involve?
Before surgery can begin your optometrist will apply an anaesthetic drop to your eye to make sure you feel nothing during surgery. You may also be offered some sedatives to keep you calm and relaxed during surgery.
The procedure will start with your surgeon making a small incision into the surface of the eye. A small probe is inserted through the small incision to help remove the lens.
Once the natural lens is out, the artificial lens can be place into position.
Before lens replacement surgery
Before having lens replacement surgery you’ll need to have an eye examination to assess the overall health and condition of your eye. This eye examination will determine whether this is the right procedure for you and help the doctor plan the best course of action if you’re to go ahead with the procedure.
The examination will check for cataracts, near-sightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.
As patients are not allowed to drive after the surgery, it is important that you bring someone with you or arrange for transport to take you home once you’re ready to leave.
Your doctor should take you through the treatment plan before the surgery so you know what to expect. At this point you will still have an opportunity to ask any remaining question you have.
After lens replacement surgery and recovery
A typical lens replacement procedure will take around 20 minutes to complete, but you will be at the hospital or clinic for considerably longer, for pre-operation prep and post-surgery assessment.
As previously mentioned, after lens replacement surgery, or any other eye treatment, you will not be allowed to drive until you’re given the all clear by your doctor. Ensure appropriate travel arrangements have been made to take you too and from your appointments.
You should be free to leave shortly after the procedure is completed, but under certain conditions you may need to stay overnight. Your surgeon will advise on this before the treatment is carried out.
Follow up appointment will be arranged to assess your recovery. Typically, these assessments will be done the day after your surgery, a month after and three months after. Additional appointments or follow up may be advised by your surgeon to maintain long term results.
To help with the recovery process you can expect to:
- Use eye drops for a few weeks after your procedure
- Wear protective eye shield while you sleep for a week or so
- Wear protective sunglasses to shield from sunlight
Risks and side effects of lens replacement surgery
Once your eyes start to heal from surgery you may notice some redness, blurred vision and glaring for the first few days and weeks after the procedure.
To minimise any risk, you may be advised to avoid:
- Heavy lifting
- Any activity or exercise that may cause stress or tension in the eye
- Water in the eye, as this can cause infection
- Exposure to dust or dirt which may also cause infection
If you feel you have encountered a serious problem or the outcome is not what you were promised, and the results are not what you expected, reach out to your surgeon.
Contact the hospital that performed the procedure and explain your situation, especially if you’re experiencing discomfort or any unusual symptoms that were not explained to you during your consultation.
If you suspect the procedure was not carried out in the correct manor and you’re not satisfied with result or the level of care you received you should contact the CQC.
Things to consider before your procedure
Lens replacement surgery may be a necessary procedure to improve the quality of life. Nonetheless before having treatment it’s important to be prepared and set some realistic expectations about the potential outcome.
Here are some things you should think about:
- If you have children, do you need childcare?
- Do you have adequate space to recover?
- How long is the recovery time for your treatment?
- How long do you need to take off work?
- When will you start to see the results you expect?
- When will you fully recover and resume your usual activity?
- Are the results of the surgery permanent?
Start your search
You may or may not be ready to have lens replacement surgery, but it’s never too soon to reach out to a clinic or hospital to start a conversation. A major part of your research into the procedure you’re looking for should include direct communication and a consultation with an expert. The more information you can gather about the procedure and your surgeon the better decision you’re likely to make.