Although laser eye surgery has become synonymous with vision correction, it may not be the best procedure for your eyes. There are other types of surgery such as lens replacement (RLE) which may give you a better outcome.
Laser eye surgery is fast, incredibly safe and more affordable than lens replacement surgery. However, laser eye surgery has limited benefit if you are over forty. As we age, vision deteriorates because the lens in our eye is also aging. When we are young, the lens, which allows us to quickly change the way we focus from distance to near, and back again is supple and flexible. Then as we get older, the lens becomes stiffer and less able to change shape quickly and accurately.
Eyesight suffers because your lens cannot work as an efficient system with the cornea, so vision start to appear blurry for people. Whether you have had perfect vision all your life, or suffered from short or long sightedness over the year, everyone is susceptible to form of vision error. Termed presbyopia, it is the reason people in their late 30’s and early 40’s often find that for the first time in their lives they require glasses or contact lenses.
If you have presbyopia then laser eye surgery will only help correct your vision temporarily. In order to improve your vision permanently, you will need a procedure that removes the natural lens and replaces it with a new artificial one. For this reason, our surgeons rarely recommend laser eye surgery for people over 40 years of age. They also often encourage those in their late 30’s to hold off from treatment of any kind until they would benefit from lens replacement in their 40’s or 50’s. Although immediate results from laser eye surgery may be impressive and the costs are certainly more attractive, the risk is your vision improvement may be short lived.
RLE is a permanent vision correction solution which prevents you from developing cataracts in the future. Over 95% of patients are very pleased or pleased with their eyesight after RLE surgery.
What is involved in lens replacement surgery?
During RLE, the natural lens is removed with an ultrasound probe. The probe is gently inserted into the eye where the ultrasound waves breakdown the tissue of the presbyopic lens. Then, in its place the surgeon implants an artificial lens. This artificial lens is custom ordered to match your prescription so that the new lens can return your vision back to 20/20 or better.
Which lens should I choose?
There are different lenses available to you. Monofocal lenses aim to reduce spectacle dependence for distance (driving) vision. You will be glasses-free for long sighted vision but will need glasses for close up tasks such as reading or needle work. If you wish to reduce your reliance on glasses further, trifocal lenses can reduce spectacle reliance for a wider range of activities, including intermediate (computer screen) and near (reading) vision. This is because trifocal lenses have three points of focus (far, intermediate and near).
Toric lenses can also be created which correct astigmatic.
It’s a complicated business so we always recommend taking some time to understand the different lenses, how they help and how this will affect your individual eyes.
Try our lens simulator to see how lens implants could improve your vision.
Most people who undergo RLE are very satisfied with their vision post-operatively. For those individuals who wish to correct their distance vision but are happy to wear glasses for reading, monofocal lenses are ideal. For those who wish to be glasses free, trifocal lenses will correct both distance and close up vision. Less than 20% of people will still need glasses after surgery with trifocal lenses.
RLE is intended to help you achieve spectacle and contact lens independence so that you can lead a more active lifestyle.
RLE with lens implantation is intended and expected to last a patient for the rest of their lives. If you are having a hip replacement, your artificial hip implant will eventually wear out and will need to be replaced. The artificial lenses used inside your eyes have been in use since the 1980’s and evidence suggests that one lens implant procedure will last you for the rest of your life.