Clear Lens Exchange (CLE) FAQs

Below are AVC’s clear lens exchange (CLE) FAQs. Please click on the questions below to reveal the facts and answers:

This CLE treatment is suitable for those over the age of 40 whose natural lens has started to age and will naturally deteriorate over time. There is no upper age limit and no prescription limitation. The only requirement is that your prescription has stabilised and that it is not currently in the midst of a decline.

CLE is suitable for patients who have very high and complicated prescriptions that would mean that they are not suitable for Laser Eye Surgery or Implantable Contact Lens treatment.

The CLE procedure is virtually identical to cataract surgery. The only difference is that a clear lens is removed in the CLE treatment and a cloudy lens is removed in cataract surgery.

Traditional intra-ocular implants are Monofocal lenses which focus light to only one point, meaning they correct distance vision only and glasses will be needed for near vision. This is the type of lens is typically used by the NHS and other private practices.

A Multifocal lens has more than one point of focus, enabling clear distance, intermediate and near vision. It has revolutionised the results of treatment and allows for patients to be completely free from all visual aids.

The optical design of the intra-ocular lenses are completely different to varifocal spectacles. Instead of a patient needing to move their head to adjust the focus, they will be able to comfortably see distance and near without having to make any movements. Layered concentric circles are used to correct each form of prescription issue allowing for simultaneous correction of all fields of vision.

AVC provide lenses from the following companies:

Patients that have cataract treatment with the NHS are not given an option in the lenses and are solely given Monofocal lenses which will only correct distance vision. This leaves patients with a reading prescription. Piggy-back lenses can be used to treat these patients and a secondary lens (Multifocal) is implanted to correct the reading vision.

Suitability for treatment and the type of lens is determined at your consultation.

If your are unsuitable for Multifocal lenses then Piggy-back lenses will not be an option. However, Monofocal lenses are available for those found unsuitable for Multifocal lenses and can undertake Clear Lens Exchange to correct their distance vision but glasses will be needed for near vision.

Once the natural lens has been removed and replaced with lens implants patients will never require surgery again. The materials from which the lenses are made from have been subject to accelerated ageing tests. Results have demonstrated that the lens material will last in excess of 150 years before showing signs of degradation.

No pain is felt as anaesthetic drops are used to numb the eye. However some discomfort or pressure can be felt during the procedure.

Most patients notice a difference to their vision immediately after the procedure. Distance vision is the first field of vision to settle, typically taking 24 to 48 hours. However, it can take a bit of time for a patient’s brain to adjust to the new reading vision.

Patients will be able to perform most everyday tasks the day after surgery without any, difficulty but the amount of time needed off will vary according to each individual. Your working environment will also be taken into consideration and our surgeon will advise on what precautions should be taken at your consultation. If there is an interim period between both eyes being treated it can affect how much time may be needed to take off work.

There will be a few restrictions after treatment. For example, it is recommended to avoid any situation where you may be hit in the eye, like whilst playing sports. At your consultation we will take into consideration your lifestyle and hobbies when recommending any restrictions.

There is a small risk of infection with these types of procedures. To minimise the risk, each eye will be treated on a separate day.

All our treatments are carried out at our AVC clinic on 77 Harley Street. AVC are one of the very few clinics in the UK where everything from consultation to surgery and aftercare is conducted under one roof.

The Clear Lens Exchange procedure involves removing the natural lens where a cataract develops, eliminating the chance of developing cataracts in the future. When a patient undergoes CLE treatment, it means that they will never develop a cataract in either eye at any point in the future.

The lens implant is inside the eye so it cannot be felt. It will not feel like a contact lens and you will be completely unaware that it is there, apart from experiencing greatly improved vision.

Your consultation, treatment days, one day after surgery, the two week and the six to eight week aftercare appointments are all usually carried out at AVC’s Harley Street clinic. After this time, we can hand you’ over to the care of one of our nationwide independent optometrist partners, allowing you to stay closer to home for the remainder of the follow-up appointments.