Intraocular Lenses (IOLs)

If you are unsuitable for laser eye surgery, there is another treatment option available at Optimax for you to consider. Intraocular Lenses (IOLs) also sometimes referred to as lens implants or lens implant surgery, are used for the correction of very severe levels of short sight, long sight and astigmatism and can restore optimum vision. With the exception of some eye diseases, most people will be suitable for IOLs and it may also be possible to treat those with Kerataconus but a perfect result is unlikely, only improved vision.

Intraocular lens treatments include Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE), Implantable Contact Lenses (ICL) and Cataract Surgery.

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)

For patients over the age of 40, already requiring glasses, RLE may be preferable. It involves replacing the eye's natural lens with an artificial one of the correct power for the elimination of glasses.

RLE takes just 20 minutes per eye.

Multi-focal lenses are available which may give good distance and near vision, thus removing the need for reading glasses.

The procedure is identical to a cataract operation and will avoid the future necessity of cataract removal.

RLE, can even treat patients that have an astigmatism.

Array Multifocal Lens

Implantable Contact Lenses (ICL)

ICL (or lens implants) is similar to a small 'contact lens' which is placed inside the eye instead of sitting on the surface. ICLs are recommended for patients under the age of 40. The procedure is recommended for patients who do not need reading glasses now or in the near future.

The Consultation

The IOL consultation at Optimax is performed by one of our experienced surgeons or a specially trained optometrist. An initial consultation will confirm your suitability for treatment and determine the strength of lens required. If you decide to go ahead with treatment, the lenses will be made to your exact specifications.


Both RLE and ICL procedures are performed in a specialist ophthalmic theatre. Prior to your treatment, anaesthetic eye drops will be administered. The RLE procedure takes approximately 20 minutes and the ICL procedure, slightly more.

During the RLE procedure the lens inside the eye is exchanged with an artificial lens of the correct power for good vision.

The ICL procedure involves implanting a small lens which is positioned under the surface of the eye. The natural lens is not removed and will continue to enable reading and close up vision.

For safety, in case of infection or rejection, lenses are implanted one at a time, allowing a minimum recovery time of one week between treatments.

After Treatment

You will be able to go home on the same day and it is essential that you have someone to accompany you. You are free to leave the clinic once advised by clinic staff, with a shield over the eye to prevent infection. Visual recovery is rapid, with noticeable improvement within a day or two. You should be able to drive and be back to work within two weeks of the procedure, however your optometrist can confirm when you have achieved driving standard.

You will need to be seen again on the day after surgery, so an overnight stay at a local hotel may be desirable. Aftercare visits are required after one and three months, then as directed by the surgeon.

Consultation and Treatment

Treatment takes place approximately four to six weeks after consultation as the lenses are manufactured to your exact specifications, however, waiting times will vary depending on the type of intraocular lens needed for your surgery. Your optometrist will confirm when driving standard has been met.

For more information about before and after surgery click here.

For more information on IOL Treatments, call customer services

on 0800 093110 or email [^enquiriesEmail]for a free call back.