4 Things To Know About Clear Lens Exchange

by Feb 15, 2023

Clear lens exchange, also called refractive lens exchange, is a surgery that can be performed to reduce the dependence on glasses or contacts. This procedure involves removing the natural crystalline lens from the eye and replacing it with a specific artificial intraocular lens that can provide clear vision at multiple distances. With age, the natural lens becomes less flexible and more rigid, causing near vision to become blurry.

While nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism can all be present from a young age and require glasses, presbyopia normally begins at age forty or later. Once this age is met, and the symptoms of presbyopia begin, clear lens exchange is the best option for eliminating the need for glasses or contact lenses.


What is Presbyopia?

Presbyopia is the term for aging-related changes to vision that result in decreased near vision after age forty.

The natural crystalline lens in the eye is responsible for adjusting the focus of the eyes for looking at things up close.

When young, the lens is exceptionally flexible and can focus easily at many distances, but with age, the lens becomes rigid and can no longer focus at near distances as well.

This problem creates the need for reading glasses or bifocals in glasses.


How Does Clear Lens Exchange Work?

Having a clear lens exchange requires surgery which is the same procedure as cataract extraction surgery, but having a multifocal artificial intraocular lens implanted after the natural lens is removed.

With the multifocal intraocular lens, there are multiple zones of clear vision to allow clarity in the distance, intermediate, and near.

The intraocular lens will have a specific power to accommodate any prescription in the eyes and reduce the need for glasses in the distance and the multiple clarity zones eliminate the need for reading glasses or a bifocal.


Who is a Candidate for Clear Lens Exchange?

Anyone over forty who is suffering from difficulty with near vision or wishes to have freedom from wearing glasses may consider clear lens exchange as an option.

An evaluation will determine whether you are a good candidate for the surgery but generally, those who have not had other eye surgery, do not have severe dry eye, do not have other eye problems or diseases, and have reasonable expectations are considered good candidates.

Previous procedures such as radial keratotomy (RK) or corneal transplants are considered contraindications for performing clear lens exchange since the refractive outcome is unknown.

If there are other eye conditions, including dry eyes, those conditions should be treated and stable before considering clear lens exchange.

One of the most important aspects of a good candidate includes having reasonable expectations. A clear lens exchange is designed to reduce the dependence on glasses or contact lenses but cannot guarantee perfect vision at all distances without glasses.


Does Insurance Cover a Clear Lens Exchange?

A clear lens exchange is considered a cosmetic or refractive procedure and medical insurance will not cover the cost of the procedure.

However, if there is a cataract in the crystalline lens that is reducing vision, medical insurance will contribute to the cost of a cataract extraction and only the premium lens will be an out-of-pocket expense.


Our eye doctors at Wilmington Family Eye Care in Wilmington, DE excel in the prescription of glasses, contact lenses and the diagnosis of a variety of eye diseases. Call our optometrists at 302-299-1286 or schedule an eye exam appointment online if you would like to learn more about clear lens exchange. Our eye doctors, Drs. Daniel Baruffi, Amy Quan, Patricia Jones, and Joseph Goldberg provide the highest quality optometry services and eye exams in Wilmington, Delaware and its surrounding areas.


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