Since the 1970s, eye doctors have used LASIK, PRK, and other refractive surgeries to correct myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. Unlike LASIK and PRK, which are surgical procedures that alter the surface of the eye, Refractive Lens Implant surgery uses techniques and materials similar to those used for over 30 years for cataract surgery. Refractive Lens Implant surgery involves replacing the natural lens with a clear artificial lens (clear lens replacement).
For individuals over 45 who are considering refractive surgery to decrease dependence on glasses and contact lenses, clear lens replacement (CLR) is an exciting option. In essence, this procedure involves removing the natural lens of the eye and replacing it with an intraocular lens (IOL) implant.
This procedure is essentially the same as a cataract surgery with lens implant, however, in this case, the procedure is completed prior to cataract development for the refractive advantage. Usually a monofocal or fixed-focus lens implant is used during cataract surgery. With such lens implants, reading glasses and/or bifocals are usually required for achieving one's best vision after surgery.
CLR changes the refractive power of the eye to give better uncorrected vision.
A second alternative for patients who are considering CLR, but who do not embrace the notion of wearing reading glasses following surgery, is monovision. With monovision, the traditional monofocal IOL implant is inserted bilaterally, however, the patient's dominant eye is corrected for distance and the non-dominant eye is corrected for near. This choice is also an excellent one, but not necessarily an option that would be tolerated by everyone.