Refractive & clear lens exchange

Radio Personality Scott Wilson says #glassesnomore! after having lens replacement surgery

What is lens replacement surgery?

In refractive or clear lens surgery, sometimes also called ‘lens replacement surgery’, a consultant ophthalmic surgeon replaces the eye’s natural lens with an artificial clinical lens. This new lens will have a specific power or prescription to help resolve common focusing or ‘refractive’ conditions. It is a similar process to cataract surgery, in which the eye’s cloudy lens is replaced.

At The Edinburgh Clinic, a premium multifocal lens option is available, which offers patients excellent vision at all distances, under all lighting conditions, day and night, and can result in clear vision without the requirement for spectacles.

Watch this short video to learn more about lens options:

Lens exchange surgery is beneficial for patients who need a cataract lens replaced, or who have one of a range of common refractive conditions.

Which refractive conditions can lens exchange help with?

Farsightedness (hyperopia)

Hyperopia is a focusing disorder of the eye in which the eye does not bend or ‘refract’ light properly to a single focus to see images clearly. The result can be that distant objects can be seen clearly while near objects appear more blurred.

Nearsightedness (myopia)

Like Hyperopia, Myopia is a focusing disorder in which incoming light is not properly refracted to the correct part of the eye, resulting in out-of-focus vision. With Myopia, nearby objects may be seen clearly, or mostly clearly, but objects at a distance are increasingly blurred and difficult to make out.


Astigmatism is a form of distorted vision which results from the patient’s eye having an irregularly curved cornea. As with Myopia and Hyperopia, the incoming light is not properly focused on the correct point at the back of the eye, resulting in blurry or distorted vision.


Presbyopia is a natural condition which results from the normal aging process. As the eye gets older its lens loses flexibility and cannot focus as well on near objects.[/accordion-item]

What options are available with lens exchange surgery?

The types of lens used in replacement surgery can, for suitable patients, improve the eye vision and reduce dependency on spectacles post-operatively. Options available include:

Multifocal/Trifocal, premium lens

A multifocal lens can help provide excellent vision at all distances, under all lighting conditions – day and night.

Monofocal lens

A monofocal lens has a fixed focus length, meaning that spectacles will typically still be required for near vision.

Toric lens

A toric lens has an uneven surface, and is used to correct astigmatism.

What are the benefits of lens exchange surgery at The Edinburgh Clinic?

  • 9 out of 10 patients enjoy increased independence from spectacles following lens exchange surgery
  • Lens exchange can lead to improved vision for people following cataract and age-related refractive conditions
  • At The Edinburgh Clinic, patient counselling is provided to help you with the transition to clear lens-enhanced vision[/accordion-item]

What should I be aware of when considering lens exchange surgery?

  • This type of procedure is only available for some people – suitable patients are selected for lens exchange surgery after an initial consultation
  • While most patients do experience a great deal of spectacle independence following lens exchange, it is not guaranteed, with around 1 in 10 patients not benefiting in this way
  • Patients may find that spectacles are still required for close reading
  • Some patients may experience an increased risk of glare when driving at night

How do I arrange to discuss lens exchange surgery?

Book an appointment with our Optician and Ophthalmic Nurses and receive a full diagnostic assessment to determine suitability for lens replacement surgery.  The team will provide information and advice which will enable you to make an informed decision about your surgery.  The appointment will last approximately 60 minutes.  It is helpful if you bring your most current prescription to your appointment as it will assist our clinical team with your assessments (this is not essential).  Bringing a list of any medications you are taking would also be helpful.

If you wear soft contact lenses you must refrain from wearing these 1 week prior to your appointment.  If you wear hard contact lenses please remove these 4 weeks prior.  At your appointment you will have drops put in your eyes which will affect your vision.  Therefore you cannot drive to your appointment.

Refractive & clear lens exchange Consultants

    Watch Scott Wilson's video diary