Frequently asked questions about lens replacement surgery

Find the answers to the questions we’re most commonly asked below.

  • When can I return to work after lens surgery?

    The short answer is: Generally, after three days

    We recommend to our lens surgery patients that they wait three days before returning to work. However, as every patient is different, your surgeon will make the best recommendations for you depending on your recovery time and work environment.
  • How do I book a free lens surgery consultation?

    The short answer is: Simple – online, complete a form or call us

    It's easy to book your free Optical Express lens replacement surgery consultation and take the first step on your journey to better vision. With the largest network of private clinics in the UK and Ireland, finding an Optical Express clinic near you couldn't be more straightforward.
  • How does lens surgery work?

    The short answer is: By replacing or enhancing your natural lens

    Lens surgery deals with the natural lens in your eye, which either needs to be enhanced with an additional synthetic lens, or to be replaced. This lens treatment improves your vision to reduce your reliance on glasses and contact lenses.
  • How long does it take to perform lens surgery?

    The short answer is: Around fifteen minutes per eye

    If you require surgery on both eyes, in most cases this takes place over the course of two days.
  • How much does lens surgery cost?

    The short answer is: Prices differ, depending on the treatment

    The cost of your lens surgery depends on the type of treatment you need, your prescription, and your personal requirements. We do offer a range of payment and financing options, which can help to spread the cost. Your consultant will provide you with information on costs at your consultation.
  • Will I feel the synthetic lens in my eye?

    The short answer is: No

    Unlike contact lenses, which sit on the surface of your eye, a synthetic lens is placed inside it, so you won't feel a thing.
  • Can I have both eyes done at the same time?

    At Optical Express we can treat both eyes on the same day, unlike treatment with the NHS where patients will have their eyes treated on different days, often separated by several weeks or months. Having both eyes treated on the same day will ensure that vision in both eyes is balanced, allowing for a quicker return to normal living.
  • Can I have lens replacement if I've had laser eye surgery previously?

    Yes, you can have lens replacement surgery if you have previously had laser eye surgery. While laser eye surgery treats the cornea, lens replacement surgery involves replacing the natural lens inside the eye. By booking in for a free consultation we can check your suitability for treatment.
  • How quickly will my vision be restored after lens replacement surgery?

    The vast majority of patients experience a significant improvement in their vision within 48 hours after surgery. The time taken for your vision to settle completely is unique to you and does depend on a number of factors, including the type of intraocular lens used during your procedure. At your consultation, our Specialist Refractive Optometrist can discuss this with you in detail.
  • I'm under 50, am I suitable for lens replacement surgery?

    Lens replacement surgery is most often performed on patients over 40 years of age. If you are unsure which treatment will be most suited to your needs, we recommend booking in for a free consultation with one of our Specialist Refractive Optometrists who will carry out a thorough assessment of your eye health to determine suitability and recommended procedure type.
  • Is there an upper age limit for lens replacement surgery?

    No, there is no set age limit on lens replacement surgery. In fact, the treatment can be highly beneficial to those aged over 60 as it is often used to remove cataracts that commonly develop in patients in this age group. As each patient is different, however, we recommend booking in for a free consultation to determine which treatment is most suitable for your eyes.
  • I've got cataracts. Can I still have lens surgery?

    Yes, lens replacement surgery is ideal for those suffering from cataracts or those who are at high risk of developing cataracts. This treatment can remove your clouded lens and replace it with a new premium intraocular lens. By successfully removing the cloudy natural lens we can prevent cataracts from coming back in the future.
  • What is lens replacement surgery?

    Lens replacement surgery is one of the most commonly performed elective surgery procedures in the world today. During this safe and effective procedure, the eye's natural lens is replaced with a premium intraocular lens. This type of surgery can be used to correct distance, intermediate, and near vision as well as treating cataracts.
  • When can I drive after lens surgery?

    Immediately after treatment, strenuous activity needs to be avoided, meaning that you will be unable to drive on the day of surgery. The length of time you need to wait before starting to drive again depends on a number of factors. In general, vision improves quickly so you are likely to be able to start driving in the days following surgery. Your Specialist Refractive Optometrist will let you know when it is safe to return to driving at your post-operative appointment.
  • Will I be able to stop wearing glasses or contact lenses after lens surgery?

    Lens replacement surgery can correct long-sightedness and short-sightedness as well as improving your reading vision to reduce your reliance on glasses or contact lenses. If you opt for monofocal lenses to improve distance vision, however, you may still need glasses for reading or for close-up work. Similarly, patients who have monofocal lenses to improve their near vision may still require glasses when driving.
  • Can lens replacement surgery eliminate the need for reading glasses?

    Yes, lens replacement surgery can correct reading vision. A specialist intraocular lens known as a multifocal lens can be used to reduce your reliance on reading glasses. A multifocal lens can also improve your distance vision.
  • Will I feel any discomfort during lens replacement surgery?

    Lens replacement surgery is performed using a local anaesthetic, so you won't feel any pain during the course of the procedure. After lens replacement surgery, patients generally experience some discomfort as the anaesthetic wears off however this is temporary and usually resolves within the first few hours following the procedure.
  • What’s the difference between RLE and ICL?

    Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) involves replacing the natural lens with an intraocular lens (IOL). With ICL (Implantable Contact Lens) procedures, the natural lens remains inside the eye, and a specialist intraocular lens is implanted in front of it. Your Specialist Refractive Optometrist and Surgeon can determine which procedure is right for you.
  • How long will the lens last?

    The specialist intraocular lens used during lens replacement surgery does not deteriorate.  It is possible to develop conditions affecting your eye health for example age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma that can affect your vision later in life.  These eye health conditions can develop independently of surgery meaning that the lens replacement surgery does not cause but also cannot prevent their development.  Assuming you do not develop any conditions affecting your eye health, you will maintain a good level of vision without the use of glasses or contact lenses.
  • How long should I take a break from exercise for after lens replacement surgery?

    We recommend that you avoid any exercise for at least one week after lens replacement surgery. After that, you can begin with some light to moderate exercise such as walking or stretching. You should avoid strenuous exercise for a minimum of four weeks. This includes jogging, aerobics, yoga, weight lifting, football, running, cycling and tennis.
  • Will lens surgery prevent me from seeing halos or glare?

    That depends on the cause. If the glare and halos you are seeing in your vision are caused by the development of a cataract, lens replacement surgery can improve not only your distance vision but also your quality of vision to remove this side effect. By booking in for a free consultation, your Specialist Refractive Optometrist can perform a comprehensive eye examination to determine the cause of your glare and halos and which treatment would be most suitable.
  • Can patients with Keratoconus have lens replacement surgery?

    While cataract surgery for those suffering from Keratoconus requires additional considerations, it is still possible.  As each patient is different we recommend booking in for a free consultation to determine whether you would be a suitable candidate for lens replacement surgery.
  • I’m very nervous – can I be put to sleep for my lens replacement surgery?

    Lens replacement surgery is performed using local anaesthetic. The risks of using general anaesthetic for this quick procedure outweigh the benefits. Your Specialist Refractive Optometrist can discuss the option of having sedation provided on the day of surgery by one of our Anaesthetists. The majority of our patients are happy to proceed with treatment with local anaesthetic and sedation is only given to those who feel particularly anxious about the day of surgery.
  • Can I watch TV after lens replacement surgery?

    In general, you should be able to watch TV after a few hours of returning home after your procedure. It is, however, recommended to give your eyes time to rest and recover on the day of surgery.
  • When can I take a shower after lens replacement surgery?

    You can shower or bathe the day after your surgery, however, you should avoid exposing your eye to direct water, soap, and shampoo for at a week.