What is Lens Replacement Surgery?


Your crystalline lens, the disc shaped structure behind the colored part of your eye, is a structure that flexes and adjusts shape to focus light at different distances as it travels through the eye.  As you age, your natural lens becomes less flexible and has trouble focusing light, especially if you are trying to read or do other close-up tasks. This condition is called presbyopia.  Furthermore, after age 60, the lens begins to get cloudy from age-related protein clumping, called a cataract.  Depending on an individual’s eye prescription and age, they may benefit from a procedure that replaces your natural lens with an advanced technology artificial implant with a built-in prescription for distance and reading. Lens replacement surgery may be performed for several reasons, but is generally recommended in patients over the age of 50. 

Cataract Surgery Costa Mesa & Orange County

What is Lens Replacement Surgery?

There are two primary reasons Dr. Wu might recommend lens replacement surgery. 

Clear Lens Exchange

When you think of ways to improve your vision, you may automatically think of LASIK. However, laser eye surgery is not recommended for everyone. People who are already wearing reading glasses, a hyperopic prescription, or have had previous LASIK can benefit from clear lens exchange (CLE), also known as refractive lens exchange (RLE). This procedure involves removing your natural lens and replacing it with an advanced technology intraocular lens (IOL) implant that has a built-in prescription for distance and near.    

Unlike LASIK, an advanced IOL implant placed during RLE, can give you multiple or blended working distances (such as distance, computer, and texting), reducing your dependence on reading glasses.  For patients who are already wearing over-the-counter cheaters, bifocals or progressive reading glasses, RLE is an excellent option.  The visual results of RLE will not decline as you age and you do not need additional cataract surgery in the future.  

Cataract Surgery

Age also causes the proteins in your lenses to clump together, making the lenses cloudy and yellow discolored. This condition is called a cataract.  Over half of people over 75 years old will have a cataract.  At present, cataract surgery is the only definitive treatment to restore vision loss from a cataract.  Your new artificial lens implant will allow you to see clearly again. 

Clear lens exchange and cataract surgery sound similar because they are essentially the same procedure but done for different reasons.  The goal of clear lens exchange is to reduce an individual’s dependence on glasses.  For cataract surgery, the goal is to restore vision loss from a cloudy lens.  Dr. Wu usually performs lens replacement surgery the same way regardless of the reason for the replacement, using advanced technology and premium IOL implants.  IOL implants can correct a wide range of refractive errors including hyperopia, myopia and astigmatism. 

How Does Lens Replacement Surgery Work?

During lens replacement surgery, you will be given IV sedation to ensure you are comfortable and relaxed.  Dr. Wu recommends femtosecond laser assisted lens replacement surgery (FLACS), where a laser makes precise partial cuts in the eye to ensure accuracy and predictability of results.  She then removes the crystalline lens from its capsule through a tiny incision in the cornea and replaces it with a preselected IOL implant. The entire procedure takes about 20 to 30 minutes per eye, and you will not feel any discomfort. Once in place, the new lens implant can stay there for a lifetime

One EyeCare offers a wide range of premium IOL options (multifocal, RxSight LAL, EDOF, accommodating, astigmatism correcting), allowing Dr. Wu to customize the choice of implant for each patient’s eye condition and visual goals.  Each type of IOL implant has its advantages and disadvantages.  Your surgeon will discuss the benefits of each lens type and help you decide which one is right for you. 

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We’d love to help you get all the information you need in order to make the best choice for your eyes. Request a consultation today! Our staff is available and happy to answer your every question.

What is Recovery Like After Lens Replacement Surgery?

Minor irritation, sensitivity to light, and blurry vision are common after lens replacement surgery and usually fade within a day or two. Most people can return to work after two days, although you may experience visual effects like double vision or halos around lights for a few weeks. You should avoid swimming, exposure to dusty or smoky environments, and eye makeup for one week. If you engage in contact sports, you can usually return to them after a week. 

Am I a Good Candidate for Lens Replacement Surgery?

While individuals may require lens replacement surgery at any age due to an underlying medical condition, the majority of people who have this procedure are over the age of 50.  Farsighted patients usually require surgery sooner than nearsighted individuals due to the size of their eye.  Only a consultation with a refractive surgeon can determine whether this procedure is right for you. 

What Results Will I See With Lens Replacement Surgery?

You may notice improvements in your vision almost immediately after your lens replacement surgery, particularly your near vision. You will notice that minor visual disturbances like halos disappear over the first few weeks. Artificial lens implants remain clear and do not need to be replaced over time. 

I got the smile procedure done with Dr Wu about a month ago, now I can see great right when I get out of bed without any vision assistance. Smooth procedure with life changing results, not much else to be said. Staff is very kind!
Markus F.

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Want to know more about lens replacement surgery? Please fill out the form on this page or call (949) 208-9090 to schedule your appointment.

We proudly serve the Costa Mesa & Newport Beach areas.