Affordable Lens Replacement Surgery
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Refractive lens exchange typically is for people with presbyopia or extreme farsightedness, for whom LASIK, PRK or phakic IOL surgery generally are not suitable.
The procedure for refractive lens exchange is virtually identical to cataract surgery. The difference is that in RLE, the lens being replaced is clear, rather than a cloudy lens due to a cataract.
As in cataract surgery, two types of IOLs are available to replace your natural lens, depending on your vision needs and the health of your eyes. They are: Monofocal fixed-focus IOLs. lenses provide clear vision at distance, intermediate or near ranges — but not all three at once. (Toric IOLs to correct astigmatism also are classified as monofocal IOLs.)
Multifocal IOLs. A multifocal lens provides clear vision at multiple distances.
Depending on the clinic and specific lens replacement technique used you can expect to pay around £3,000 – £4,000 per eye for multifocal or trifocal lenses. Some clinics offer a free initial consultation but some charge between £200 – £300.
1. Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)
In general, when people talk about lens replacement surgery they are referring to some type of Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE), which is also known as Refractive Lens Replacement, Clear Lens Exchange (CLE) or Clear Lens Surgery. This is a treatment for patients suffering from presbyopia (long-sightedness normally occurring in middle and old age), hyperopia (farsightedness where objects nearby are not seen as clearly as objects in the distance) or those with a considerably thin cornea.
It is commonly used for patients over 40 who don’t qualify for either LASIK or PRK laser eye surgery but are not willing to continue using glasses or use contact lenses. It can also can correct myopia (nearsightedness) but it is not normally recommended when LASIK surgery or Phakic intraocular lens (IOL) can be used.
The procedure involves removing the eye’s natural lens and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens. As well as removing the need to continue wearing glasses or use contact lenses, the new artificial intraocular lens will also mean that the patient will not suffer from cataracts in the future as a cataract cannot form on an artificial lens.
3. Implantable Contact Lenses (ICL)
This type of lens surgery involves implanting contact lenses rather than removing and replacing the natural lens which occurs in lens replacement surgery. This new phakic intraocular lens is placed on top of the natural lens and behind the iris (the exact positioning will depend on the lens chosen). As the natural lens is not removed this procedure can be reversed at a later date.
From Prices (Per Eye)
From Prices (Per Eye)
From Prices (Per Eye)
Lens surgery is the most common surgery carried out in the UK and remains the only effective way of fully treating cataracts. During your initial consultation, an optometrist will ask you questions about your age, health, prescription and other influencing factors to assess your suitability. They will also undertake an indepth examination of your eyes. You will be able to discuss your suitability for the treatment with them with no obligation to have the treatment recommended.
All clinics will offer a variety of financing options for their refractive lens replacement (RLE) and implantable contact lens (IOL) treatments. Many will offer 0% finance over 10-12 months and if you would like to pay off the balance over a longer period in order to reduce the monthly payments you should expect to pay about 9.5%-11.5% APR.
The prescription of your eye is derived from the power of your cornea (outer clear part of your eye) and the power of the natural lens within your eye. To have 20:20 vision, these 2 components must work together to focus light perfectly on to your retina. If you are long sighted, short sighted or have astigmatism, this is not the case. During laser eye surgery, the aim of the procedure is to alter the shape (and therefore power) of your cornea, to ensure the light entering your eye is focussed perfectly on to your retina, meaning you will no longer need to wear glasses or contact lenses.
Laser eye surgery is widely used to help treat refractive errors such as:
Astigmatism, where the cornea (front surface of the eye) is not perfectly curved, causing blurred vision
However, these conditions are not available for treatment on the NHS because other successful treatments are available, such as wearing glasses or contact lenses.
Once your cataracts start to severely hamper your day-to-day activities, that’s when you’ll be offered the procedure on the NHS. For example, if you’re struggling to drive, read or can no longer take care of someone you look after for, your doctor/ophthalmologist will recommend you for treatment.