Refractive Lens Exchange

About refractive lens exchange

If you are not suitable for Laser Eye Surgery, you may be suitable for Lens Replacement Surgery instead. Lens Replacement Surgery (known as Refractive lens exchange) is a vision correction technique for patients who are frustrated with deteriorating vision.

Refractive lens exchange (RLE) replaces your eye’s clear natural lens with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) to correct your refractive error and achieve sharper focus, reducing your need for glasses.

Please be aware this video contains scenes of eye surgery.

Types of lenses

There are many types of lenses and the best option for you will be discussed during your consultation.

A series of diagnostics tests determine the exact specifications for your bespoke lenses. We will also look at your lifestyle and visual requirements. The Stoneygate Eye Hospital is the only dedicated eye surgery hospital in the East Midlands offering a full range of vision correction procedures and refractive lens exchange Leicester. Scroll down for more information on the types of lens available, the procedure itself and costs.

Monofocal lenses​

Monofocal lenses normally correct for distance vision but can correct for any visual range desired.

These are used for people who don’t mind using glasses for specific tasks, for example; reading glasses in cases where distance vision has been corrected.

Monofocals are particularly good for patients that need sharp distance vision such as professional drivers. They can also be used to achieve Monovision.

Multifocal and Trifocal lenses​

Unlike Monofocal lenses, these lenses could eliminate the need for reading glasses. They are the most popular choice for the correction of presbyopia (the need for reading glasses).

The lenses are more advanced to provide more than one focal point. It splits the light so some is focused for distance, some for near and some for intermediate within the eye. 

There may be some loss of contrasts and patients may experience a haloing effect at night.

Toric lenses

Toric lenses are designed specifically for patients who suffer from an astigmatism and help to correct refractive errors. 

Astigmatism is a condition in which light is unevenly focussed, causing blurred vision at all distances. The condition allows only partial focus on an image, for instance, astigmatism can cause some wheel spokes to appear clearer than others, or make different distances appear distorted and blurry.

The Benefits of RLE

The surgery itself takes no more than 10 minutes, but you’ll have to rest about 30 minutes to an hour immediately after the procedure. As your eye will be anaesthetised with numbing drops, you will usually feel no pain. The discomfort and grogginess will gradually disappear while the anaesthesia is wearing off.

Possible Risks after RLE

All surgeries have some degree of risks, which is why you should discuss your procedure in detail with your eye surgeon. Serious loss of vision is significantly more common after lens replacement surgery than laser eye surgery. But this affects approximately 1 in 500 patients in the world. 

  • Infection
  • Overcorrection or undercorrection
  • Posterior capsular occlusion (PCO)
  • Retinal detachment

View our animated video about the surgery procedure

Disclaimer: This video contains scenes in an operating theatre of a cataract surgical procedure. Viewer discretion is advised. Some may find it uncomfortable to watch.

Recovery after surgery

Once your anaesthetic has worn off, you may experience some temporary discomfort. Your surgeon will be able to offer advice on how best to manage this.

You should now return home and relax. You’ll return to the clinic the next day if you are having surgery on your other eye. On your journey to recovery, you may notice blurred vision and glare, but this will improve over time.

We will advise you about your bespoke aftercare and our consultants follow up.

What are the Costs of Surgery?

Initial no obligation consultation, including full diagnostics from £200

Cataract Surgery Leicester is:
Refractive Lens Exchange from £3,300 – £3,600 (one eye)
Laser Assisted Refractive Lens Exchange from £3900 (one eye)
2 Free post-operative check-up appointments

Interest free finance over 12 months available – subject to status 


Information on consultant’s individual fee structures can be found on their bio pages, which can be found in the drop-down menu at the top of the website, or by clicking here.

0116 270 8033