What Is Clear Lens Exchange Surgery?
An Option For The Over 40’s. As we get older, the muscles in our eyes relax and deteriorate, making it more difficult to focus. Many of us find we need to wear glasses or contact lenses, especially for reading, and this, of course, can be inconvenient. However, more and more people are now considering eye surgery as a way of improving their eyesight, and Clear Lens Exchange (CLE) surgery is a particularly suitable option for those over the age of 40.
CLE is similar to cataract surgery, because the lens inside the eye is replaced with a synthetic lens, making it more suitable for older patients. There is no need to alter the shape of the eye (as with laser eye surgery) and CLE is considered a very safe procedure, with a quick recovery time.
What Are The Benefits Of CLE Surgery?
Unlike a younger person, once you are over 40, your eye muscles will have relaxed, so replacing your natural lenses means you will not need to wear glasses or contact lenses. There are several kinds of lenses that can be used in CLE surgery.
Monocular lenses have a single focus, similar to reading glasses, but if you have particular vision problems, you can also have multifocal lenses (so you can focus clearly on objects near to you as well as further away), or prescription lenses. Unlike laser eye surgery, there is no limit on the prescription range, and even very complex requirements can be met.
Another benefit of CLE surgery is that there is no risk of developing cataracts in later life due to the fact that your natural lens has been replaced with a synthetic one.
- No need for glasses or contact lenses in the future
- No Limit on prescription range
- No risk of developing cataracts
What affects The Average Cost Of CLE Surgery?
CLE surgery is not normally funded by the NHS, and the costs of having private surgery vary depending on several factors including:
- Where in the UK you have your treatment
There are regional variations in the fees, with the most expensive being in London, and especially those charged by very experienced surgeons such as those working in Harley Street.
- The quality of the clinic
Clinics using newer laser technology, rather than the older style ultrasound method, are likely to charge more, and higher specification lenses will also be more expensive.
- Whether aftercare is included in your treatment
Low cost CLE surgery packages may not include aftercare, which is naturally a very important consideration. If something goes wrong following your surgery, you may find you have to pay additional fees for treatment to put things right.
How Do I Prepare For CLE Surgery?
Once you have found a reputable surgeon, you will need an appointment about two weeks before the operation. You will be given an eye test, and your eyes will be examined to make sure that the surgeon is well prepared to operate. Your eyes will be carefully measured, so that a lens of the correct kind and size will be ready in time.
What Will Happen on the Day of the Operation?
CLE surgery is usually done as a day procedure, using a local anaesthetic. If there are medical reasons, or if you prefer, a general anaesthetic can be used, but this makes the operation riskier and you will not recover so quickly.
On the day of your surgery, avoid eating in the morning, and make sure you have arranged a way to get home after the operation as you won’t be able to see clearly at first. It will probably also be helpful to arrange for someone to be with you overnight for support.
When you arrive at the clinic, drops will be put into your eyes so that the pupils dilate. This makes it easy for the surgeon to access your eye, but it will blur your vision. Just before the operation, anaesthetic drops will also be put in to deaden the sensation around your eye. The surgeon will put a shield over your eye, and use a small lid guard to keep it open. Then one or more small incisions are made at the edge of your eye, and a very thin tube is inserted. Your existing lens will be pulverised by the laser or ultrasound waves and everything is sucked out through the tube.
Your new lens is foldable, so it can be inserted into your eye through the same tube, and because the incision is so tiny, your eye will heal up naturally, without needing any stitches. The whole procedure normally takes about 15 minutes per eye.
- The Procedure takes around 15 minutes
- Avoid eating in the morning
- Arrange transport back from your clinic
Recovery And Aftercare
As long as everything has gone smoothly, you can usually go home straight away. Once the anaesthetic wears off, you may find your eye feels sensitive and sore, but standard painkillers should help to ease this. You might be asked to use antibiotics to minimise the risk of infection. You can also help to avoid infection by not rubbing your eyes, and being especially careful not to use anything which could cause an irritation, such as shampoo or make-up.
If your eye becomes very red and sore, or you notice any pus, it’s important to contact your surgeon straight away, as these could be signs of an infection. You may need to take steroids to combat any infection.
It will probably take one or two days for your vision to become normal again, and a few more days for it to settle completely, but you should be able to get back to your usual routine, such as driving and working, very quickly.
Results for CLE surgery are generally very good, so before too long, you should find you are able to enjoy your renewed vision, free from the need for glasses or contact lenses.