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Laser Eye Surgery vs Lens Replacement surgery – What Do You Need to Know?

We’d wager that many of you have never heard the term ‘refractive surgery’, which refers to a group of surgical procedures that are designed to either improve or correct vision for patients who are dependent on lenses to see.

The reason why you may not have heard of this term is simple; as we’re far more familiar with the individual name of each procedure and its function in correcting both short and long-sightedness in patients.

Two of the most common procedures are laser eye surgery and lens replacement surgery, with the former having become increasingly popular among younger patients who are looking to correct their eyesight and negate the need for lenses. But what do you need to know about these two treatments, and which one is right for you?

What’s the Difference Between Laser Eye and Lens Replacement Surgery?

In simple terms, laser eye surgery is a process that focuses on reshaping the cornea, in a bid to refocus the light at the back of the eye and correct the imbalances that exist in your vision.

Conversely, lens replacement surgery tends to be a little more invasive, while it usually involves going inside the eye to remove the existing lens and replacing this with a clear plastic alternative.

This will provide much-improved near vision and deliver a degree of what’s called multifocality, enabling you to complete a diverse array of tasks without the aid of artificial lenses.

While both of these surgeries are refractive and generally considered to completely safe in the UK, they’re also separated by a number of core differences.

For example, laser eye surgery tends to be more effective and widely-used amongst younger patients, primarily because it can enhance the function of the cornea dramatically while optimising near-sight focus.

This procedure is less effective for older patients (especially those aged over 40), as during this time our eyes begin to change dramatically and in such instances surgery may not provide significant improvements to an individual’s near vision.

In the case of lens replacement surgery, this procedure carries a slightly higher level of risk, as it’s more invasive and involves going inside the eye.

Of course, this risk has largely been negated by significant improvements in modern cataract surgery techniques, but it’s worth considering in instances where you’re still able to see relatively well with your prescription glasses or contact lenses.

The Last Word

As we can see, the subtle differences between these two surgeries should help to inform your choice of treatment, with factors such as your age, prescription and extent of your vision problems having a critical bearing on your final decision.

As a general rule, however, laser eye surgery is a safer and more effective treatment for those under the age of 40, whereas lens replacement surgery is arguably more suited to older patients who want to achieve better results and minimise their reliance on glasses.

It’s also worth liaising with your eye doctor or GP before deciding, as this may offer some much-needed insight and expert guidance going forward.