This procedure involves replacing the normal lens of the eye with an artificial intraocular lens implant, the strength of which is calculated according to the specific need of the patient. The difference between a patient undergoing cataract surgery and a patient for refractive lens exchange is the clarity of the lens prior to surgery; a cataract patient has a cloudy lens, whilst in a refractive lens exchange patient the lens will still be clear.
Refractive lens exchange can be an alternative to laser vision correction, which is typically not advised in patients with high refractive errors, high astigmatism and older patients. The surgical technique employed, the pre-operative assessment, post-operative recovery, as well as potential risks are essentially the same as those for cataract surgery.
Usually, the intention is to leave patients seeing clearly in the distance without the need for their glasses. However, reading glasses will be required.
If you are keen to minimize your dependency on reading glasses, the options are implantation of a multi-focal lens, or using conventional monofocal implants to achieve a mono-vision refractive state.
Mono-vision is the technique of inserting a monofocal lens set for distance in one eye and a different strength monofocal lens set for reading in the other. Depth perception may be reduced, but some patients are already used to using one eye only to read and have no problem. A contact lens trial can be helpful before surgery to find out if mono-vision may suit you.