Maria’s Refractive Lens Exchange surgery

28 January 2020

Author: Kate Green

maria's RLE

The other side of the patient journey


Meet Maria, a registered nurse at Optimax Leicester. She is also our Infection Control Nurse for the North and, having worked at Optimax for a number of years, it’s safe to say that Maria knows eye surgery very well.


RLE maria and dr S


Prior to working at Optimax, Maria had worn glasses for over 20 years. However, helping lots of patients on their journey to 20/20 vision led Maria to start looking into her vision correction options. She had a quick consultation with her colleagues in the Leicester clinic and was found suitable for Lens Surgery – specifically Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE). This is a treatment whereby your eye’s natural lens is removed and is replaced with an artificial lens.


With RLE, there is a choice between either multifocal or monofocal lenses. Monofocal lenses provide good vision at one particular distance, while multifocal lenses provide sharp focus at multiple distances – hence the name of the lens! Having multifocal lenses inserted means that you won’t need reading glasses anymore, as you’ll have good vision both close up and far away. It also means you can’t develop a cataract later in life, because your natural ageing lens has been removed.


Now that Maria is three months on from surgery, we decided to sit down with her and ask her a bit about her RLE journey at Optimax.


RLE maria table


What made you decide to get RLE?

I had been wearing glasses for the past 20 years and, after seeing so many of my own patients take the plunge, I decided it was finally time!


Did you have monofocal or multifocal lenses, and why?

I chose multifocal lenses as it means I have good vision for all distances, and don’t rely on reading glasses for anything.


What’s the best thing about life after RLE?

I discovered freedom again. I can wear normal sunglasses without having to bother with prescription lenses, I can swim without taking out my contact lenses, and just enjoy my free time properly now.


What has treatment made the biggest difference to in your daily life?

The thing I notice the most since having RLE surgery is waking up in the morning and being able to see straight away. It’s such an amazing feeling!


What was the procedure like?

It was pain free – I just felt lots of water around my eye as the surgeon cleaned it out. It was really interesting being on this side of the surgery experience, rather than as a nurse! The surgeon was fantastic – he spoke to me throughout the whole procedure talking me through what he was doing, and I found this really calming.


What was your recovery process like?

My recovery was quite quick. I could see better straight away and after a couple of days, I was able to read and watch TV as normal. The day after surgery, I went in for my aftercare appointment and I was already over the driving standard. Now I have better vision than 20/20!


Has it helped with how you relate to Optimax lens patients?

It definitely has! I can explain what the procedure is like in more detail, and reassure them. I can also answer their questions from a first-hand point of view and it’s better for them because they can relate to me.


We’re so pleased that Maria had such a great treatment experience and is enjoying life with her new vision!


RLE team photo


If you’d like to find out a bit more about how our patients got on with their surgery, you can have a read of our Trustpilot reviews. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch on 0800 093 1110 or email if you have any questions.

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