Frequently Asked Refractive Lens Exchange Questions

Below are many of the most commonly asked questions about refractive lens exchange at the Mitchell Eye Centre.

Please note that detailed descriptions are available on our website about cataracts, common eye conditions and diseases, and the advanced technology lens implants. Be sure to visit these pages as they contain valuable information.

It is important that you follow your doctor’s advice following a refractive lens exchange. This may include booking time off work, avoiding certain activities, medication, or other lifestyle changes for the first few weeks after receiving advanced technology lens implants. This page answers many of the most commonly received questions regarding the healing and recovery process.

If any of your questions about refractive lens exchange are not found below, please be sure to inquire with your eye doctor at the Mitchell Eye Centre. Before all surgeries and treatments, we will provide you with detailed information about what to expect.

What is a refractive lens exchange?

Your natural lens is removed and an advanced intraocular lens (IOL) is implanted to replace it. This procedure is safe, requires no maintenance, and provides a permanent solution for many eye conditions.

Is refractive lens exchange surgery safe?

Yes. Refractive lens exchange is a safe, minimally invasive procedure.

Does refractive lens exchange hurt?

No. Refractive lens exchanges are painless.

What are the risks associated with refractive lens exchange?

The risks associated with refractive lens exchange are similar to those of cataract surgery, albeit usually less frequent because patients are younger and the surgery is easier. A very small percentage of patients may develop infection (endophthalmitis), retinal detachment, or cystoid macular edema.

How long will lens implants last?

Lens implants are permanent. Advanced technology lens implants will improve your vision and eliminate problems related to nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), presbyopia, and cataracts.

Will I be able to “feel” my implants?

No. Once advanced technology lens implants have been placed, you will not feel them in your eye. There will be mild discomfort for the first 1 to 7 days after surgery, but this will quickly subside.

How long is the recovery time after refractive lens exchange?

Typical recovery time after undergoing a refractive lens exchange is less than 2 weeks.

Do I need a driver or a ride home on the day of surgery?

Yes. We recommend that you are accompanied by an adult and or legal guardian to arrange for a ride home after undergoing a refractive lens exchange. If necessary, one of our staff would be happy to assist you by calling and booking a taxi.

Do I need to use eye drops afterwards?

Yes. After undergoing a refractive lens exchange, you will be prescribed medicated drops to use for the first 6 weeks after the procedure. Please use these as directed by your doctor.

What should I expect during the recovery period?

Patients can expect only mild discomfort with rare cases of redness or pain. Some patients may experience a gritty feeling in their eye, like something is “in it” but this is quite normal. Should you experience pain or throbbing sensations, this is not normal and you should contact Mitchell Eye Centre immediately.

How long until my vision improves after refractive lens exchange?

Your eyesight will noticeably improve immediately after advanced technology lenses are implanted. Within 4 to 6 weeks after the procedure you will notice further improvements in clarity and visual acuity.

How often will I need to have my eyes checked after surgery?

You will have an appointment scheduled for the day after surgery. Follow up appointments will be scheduled again 2 weeks after surgery and finally 6 weeks after surgery.

If I have a refractive lens exchange will I develop cataracts?

No. In addition to the other benefits related to improvement of your vision, a refractive lens exchange eliminates the risk of developing cataracts.

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