Lens Replacement Surgery

Lens replacement surgery is also known as ‘Refractive Lens Exchange’ treatment. It is the same procedure as cataract surgery – your natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens to improve your vision.

Refractive lens exchange

Why would lens replacement surgery be a better option than laser eye surgery?

Some patients who come to Ultralase hoping to have laser eye surgery actually find that they are more suitable for lens replacement surgery. This could be for a number of reasons, such as:

  • Cataracts beginning to form on the eye’s natural lens
  • Age related conditions, such as presbyopia (the need for reading glasses)
  • Having a strong prescription: myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism
  • Cornea may not be suitable for laser treatment if, for example, it is too thin


What lens replacement options are available?


Monofocal Lenses

Monofocal lenses are good for distance vision only. If you are happy to rely on reading glasses for certain tasks after your lens replacement surgery, these lenses will be best for you.

Monofocal lenses are a great option if you’re looking for monovision (where one eye is corrected for distance and the other is corrected for near vision) as well as being a great help for super sharp distance vision in jobs, such as professional driving.


Multifocal Lenses

Multifocal lenses are different to monofocal lenses as they are designed to allow the correction of distance and near vision. At Ultralase, multifocal lenses are the most popular option to tackle the correction of presbyopia (the need for reading glasses) with lens replacement surgery.

The design of the lens allows the light to be split into different focal strengths; close up, intermediate and distance vision. This means that you could be completely free of glasses after lens replacement surgery, as well as having the added benefit of being unable to develop cataracts later in life.


Toric lenses

Toric lenses are available for implantation in lens replacement surgery if you have astigmatism. Many people think that they are unsuitable for any refractive surgery due to astigmatism but nowadays we can cater for the condition with specialised lenses. Not only does a toric lens correct your astigmatism, but your distance vision should also be significantly improved once your astigmatism is rectified.


What is the difference between cataract surgery and lens replacement?

Cataract surgery and lens replacement treatment are exactly the same surgical procedure. Cataract surgery is carried out in order to remove a cataract which is impairing vision. On the other hand, lens replacement surgery is performed when a patient is wants to achieve better vision


How safe is lens replacement?

The risk of infection after lens replacement surgery occurs in less than 1 in 1,000 people (0.1%). We carefully check your eye health and vision before and after your lens replacement surgery and monitor your visual recovery over the following months. You are in safe hands with Ultralase with over 95% of our lens replacement patients achieving driving standard vision or better.


What happens after lens replacement surgery?

After lens replacement surgery, you will rest your eyes for a period in our post-surgery room, until you feel ready to depart the clinic. Your surgeon will also come in to perform one final check on your eyes and you will receive their emergency phone number for the night of your surgery, should you have any urgent questions or worries. You will be given eye drops for the week or two after surgery, to help lubricate your eyes and aid recovery.

You will be required to come in for an appointment 1-2 days after surgery for us to check your eye health, and then again around a week after surgery. We will also invite you in for another check-up 4-6 weeks after lens replacement surgery and, if we’re satisfied with your recovery and you’re happy with your new vision, you will be discharged at your final appointment 3-6 months later.


Will I need glasses after lens replacement surgery?

This depends on which type of lens you opt for. With multifocal lenses, you shouldn’t need glasses as these correct your vision for close, intermediate and distant visual ranges.

If you choose to have monofocal lenses inserted, you will still need reading glasses. Everyone requires reading glasses when they reach their 40s-50s, due to the natural ageing of the eye’s lens. As it ages, it stops being able to flex as well, making it more difficult to focus on near visual ranges.


Can I drive after the lens replacement procedure?

Your vision will have improved greatly in comparison to pre-surgery, but the optometrist will advise you to drive when you feel most comfortable and confident to do it. Most of our patients are usually cleared to drive 1-2 weeks after their surgery.


Can I wear make-up after lens replacement treatment?

Please avoid eye make up for at least two weeks after any type of vision correction surgery. You can wear base makeup and lipstick after surgery but eye makeup can sometimes affect the healing process after lens surgery and should be avoided for this reason.



Will I have blurred vision after lens replacement treatment?

Due to the dilating drops that are administered, and increased light sensitivity, many patients find that their vision is blurred after surgery. This should clear up several hours after the operation, however you may find that your vision is sensitive for a few days post-treatment. We advise that you bring a pair of sunglasses with you on the day of your treatment to ensure you're as comfortable as possible.


Is it normal for the drops to sting?

It is completely normal for your eye drops to sting a little bit once you have administered them, but you do need to continue to use them as prescribed because they help with healing and preventing infection. If the discomfort persists, however, please contact us.


I’ve had lens replacement treatment and there feels like there is something in my eye

You may experience a gritty, burning sensation in your eyes, almost feeling as if you have something on the surface of your eye scratching your eyelid. This is completely normal, and it is due to the tiny incision that will have been made on the surface of your eye during lens replacement surgery. This gritty sensation should disappear as your eyes heal. If the scratchiness does continue, it could be a sign of dry eye, and hydrating eye drops will help with this.


How much does lens replacement cost?

The cost of lens replacement surgery depends on the type of lens that best suits your lifestyle and visual aims after treatment.

Lens Type Consultation Cost per eye
Multifocal lens surgery FREE £3,995
Extended Depth of Focus Lens Surgery FREE £3,745
Standard monofocal lens surgery FREE £3,495

You can find more information on the payment plans available at Ultralase on our Lens Surgery Cost page.