Refractive lensectomy, also called refractive lens exchange, corrects nearsightedness or farsightedness. By replacing the eye’s natural lens, which has the wrong power, with an artificial intraocular lens implant (IOLs), this procedure provides the correct power for the eye. It uses the same techniques of modern cataract surgery. The main difference is that cataract surgery is primarily performed to remove a cataract that’s obstructing vision, while refractive lensectomy is performed to reduce dependence on glasses or contact lenses. A patient may be a good candidate for the procedure if there are no other health issues affecting the eyes or if he/she is not a good candidate for laser vision correction.
What to Expect
The refractive lensectomy procedure is performed on an outpatient basis. Only one eye will be treated at a time. After the eye is completely numbed with topical or local anesthesia, the eye’s natural lens will be gently vacuumed out through a tiny incision, less than one eighth of an inch wide.
Next, the new, intraocular lens will be folded and inserted through the same micro-incision. It will then be unfolded and placed into the “capsular bag” that originally surrounded the natural lens. The incision is “self-healing” and usually requires no stitches — it heals fast and provides a much more comfortable recuperation. The whole procedure usually takes from 10 to 25 minutes.
The patient returns home soon after the surgery, and most patients return to their normal activities within a day or two. The goal of the procedure is to reduce or eliminate dependence on glasses or contact lenses. Though some patients report an improvement in their vision almost immediately, results vary by patient.