What is Refractive Lens Exchange?
Refractive lens exchange Stockton is a procedure very similar to cataract surgery in that it replaces your eye’s natural lens, called the crystalline lens, with an artificial, premium intraocular lens. The purpose of this procedure is to correct refractive errors (such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism) to achieve sharper focus, thereby reducing the need for glasses or contact lenses.
Refractive Lens Exchange Stockton is typically performed for one of three reasons. The first reason is to replace a lens that shows early signs of cataract formation. By treating a cloudy lens early, it is possible to avoid the process of gradual vision loss that accompanies the formation of cataracts. This option is particularly attractive to those who reduce their dependence on glasses and contact lenses.
The second reason patients have refractive lens exchange is to treat presbyopia. LASIK can treat certain amounts of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, but it cannot treat presbyopia. Presbyopia occurs when our natural crystalline lens in the eye begins to show signs of aging. The initial signs of presbyopia is the inability to read without glasses. Unlike LASIK which can only provide vision at one distance, refractive lens exchange can provide vision at all distances: near, intermediate, and distance vision.
The third reason some choose to have refractive lens exchange is to treat nearsightedness or farsightedness so extreme that LASIK cannot be used. With LASIK, the cornea can only be safely reshaped enough to treat a refractive errors within a certain range. Patients with larger refractive errors cannot have LASIK performed, but refractive lens exchange may be a good option.
What is the Refractive Lens Exchange Procedure Like?
The refractive lens exchange Stockton procedure is virtually identical to cataract surgery. The difference is that with refractive lens exchange, the lens being replaced is clear, or at least for the most part, rather than a cloudy lens due to a cataract. Each eye is done separately, about 2 weeks apart (if necessary). You will need a ride to and from the surgery center on the day of the procedure. Before the procedure, the anesthesiologist will give you a “twilight anesthesia” which means that you will be awake during the procedure but you will not feel anything. You will be at the surgery center for about 2-3 hours total. Dr. Miselis’ part (the actual procedure) takes about 15-20 minutes. Anesthetic drops are used to numb your eye before refractive lens exchange, so typically there is no discomfort.
The procedure involves making a very small incision, removing your natural crystalline lens, and replacing it with an artificial lens. The incision is so small that it typically does not require stitches or sutures.
What is the Recovery Like?
The recovery from the procedure is usually very quick. When you return home from the procedure, you will be wearing a shield over the eye to protect it. You will only need to wear the shield while sleeping for 1 week after your procedure. You should rest that day and take it easy. You will be using prescription eye drops for 1 month after the procedure.
The day after your procedure, you will come in for your 1 day post-op appointment here in our Stockton office. You will need someone to drive you to this appointment. Most patients are given a release to resume driving at this appointment.
Most patients notice an improvement in their vision right after the procedure, although final outcomes of refractive lens exchange can take up to one to two months. During this time, you may notice vision disturbances such as blurry vision, halos and glare, or a “scratchy” sensation as your eye heals.
Most patients are able to resume driving and return to work within a few days of the procedure, depending on Dr. Miselis’ instructions.
Normally, you will not feel the lens in your eye, in the same way that you do not feel a dental filling for a cavity. And because the lens implant is inside your eye and not on the surface like a contact lens, it is not visible to others.
The artificial intraocular lens is a permanent replacement for your natural lens and is designed to last the rest of your life. There is minimal risk of regression (loss of corrective effect or deterioration of vision) over time.
What are the Restrictions After Surgery?
- Do not lift anything heavy (25 pounds or more) for 1 week after the procedure
- Do not swim in any large bodies of water (lakes, rivers, streams, pools, or hot tubs) for 1 week. You may shower and wash your face, but you will need to close your eyes when you do so.
- Do not use eyeliner, mascara, or eye shadow for 1 week after the procedure. You may use new eye makeup after 1 week, or you can use your old eye makeup after 2 weeks.
What are the Lens Options?
At Heritage Eye, Skin & Laser Center, we offer two types of lenses: multifocals lenses and accommodating lenses. The multifocal lenses include depth of focus lenses (Symfony and Symfony Toric) and trifocal lenses (PanOptix and PanOptix Toric). The accommodating lenses available are Crystalens and Trulign Toric. Each of these lenses provide vision at all distances (near, intermediate, and distance vision). Dr. Miselis, your eye surgeon, will recommend a lens that is most suitable for your individual needs.
Although the lens does provide vision at all distances, it does have limitations. Therefore, after the implantation of this lens and your eyes have healed, glasses will still be needed for some activities.
Who Do I Call With Questions?
If at any time you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call our office at 209.465.5933 and ask for Elysse.