Refractive Lens

Refractive Lens Exchange

Eye Surgery

Refractive Lens Exchange

As we age, the lens in the eye can deteriorate leading to myopia (short sight) or hyperopia (long sight). RLE surgery aims to reduce the need for glasses or contact lenses by replacing the eyes natural lens. In essence RLE is like building your glasses or contact lenses into your eyes. Refractive Lens Exchange enjoys very high success rates- according The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, around 4 in 5 patients are completely free of visual aid following surgery.

"From my initial enquiry right through to undergoing surgery I was both impressed and reassured that I was in safe hands with Mr Hamada and his team. I would absolutely recommend."
A McIndoe Centre Patient

What Does This Surgery Involve?

Refractive Lens Exchange is when the natural lens is removed from your eye and replaced with a lens implant that permanently corrects your focus. The operation is performed under a local anaesthetic, and takes about 20 minutes.

What Are The Benefits Of This Surgery?

The implants mean that you can never develop cataracts after this procedure. Implants can correct both near and distance vision and astigmatism. Your surgeon will advise on the best lens for your eyes, you can read more about the different lenses available below.

As RLE is designed to make you less dependent on glasses and contact lenses, the surgery makes living an active lifestyle much easier- many describe the surgery as life-changing.

Your surgeon will only carry out RLE surgery on one eye at a time, but you would be able to have surgery on the second eye the week after.

Lens Options

With modern surgical techniques, it is possible to tailor the lens to the patient’s level of short sight or long sight and lifestyle. The lenses available are as follows:

  • Multifocal lens – contain two or more lens powers to enable you to see at all distances
  • Trifocal lens – these lenses have three regions which correct the distance, intermediate and near vision
  • Toric lens – a lens with different optical power and focus length in two orientations that are perpendicular to each other.

What Are The Possible Complications Of This Surgery?

As with all surgical procedures, there is an element of risk. At The McIndoe Centre, we do everything we can to minimise risk of complications. Your surgeon will talk to you about any possible specific complications before you decide to have your operation. Your consultant will discuss all the benefits and risks of the operation with you in full before you decide to proceed.

Recovery After Surgery

You can go home straight after the operation and you should be able to resume light activities within a few days. You will have eye drops to use after surgery.

This article was written by The McIndoe Centre, in collaboration with Samer Hamada MD, MSc, DO(hons), FRCSEd, FRCOphth Consultant Ophthalmic, Corneal and Refractive Surgeon. All information, advice and procedures were updated on 17th September 2019.

Consultants that perform this procedure

    Make a patient enquiry

    Our friendly customer services team are always happy to answer any questions you may have regarding our treatments or services.

    Contact details


    Sign up to our e-Newsletter

    Please tick the box below if you would like to receive The McIndoe Centre monthly e-newsletter containing articles from the experts, latest news and healthy living tips. A valid email address is required.

    The personal details which you submit will be used to fulfil your request. Horder Healthcare will need to process your personal information and may contact you via telephone or/and email. By clicking 'Send' you confirm that you have read and agreed Horder Healthcare's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

    Find out more about the McIndoe Centre

    We provide outstanding patient experiences

    As a nationally recognised hospital of excellence in plastic, reconstructive, ophthalmic and maxillofacial surgery, we have demonstrated ourselves to be: effective, responsive, caring, safe and well-led. Recently rated ‘good’ by the CQC, we are committed to treating our patients and each other with kindness, respect and dignity resulting in life-changing outcomes.

    Latest news and articles

    kelly patient story video cataract surgery gok ratnarajan

    Innovative lenses provide “life-changing” results for cataract surgery patient


    Facial Harmony: Enhancing Your Features With Facelift Surgery


    How Much Does Blepharoplasty Cost in the UK?

    Patient testimonials

    Find out what it’s like to be a patient, from the people who matter the most.