PRELEX (Presbyopic Lens Exchange) is the name now given to the surgical procedure to replace the natural lens of your eye, which is no longer focusing correctly for near targets, with a multi-focal or pseudo-accommodative intra-ocular lens implant (IOL).
Whilst the application of the technology is new, the surgical techniques employed have been proven successful over many years of use. This is because the procedure itself is similar to that used to treat cataract patients. The most significant difference between a cataract patient and a PRELEX patient is the clarity of the lens prior to surgery.
Face & Eye surgeons are amongst a small and progressive group of international ophthalmologists to offer PRELEX. Their patients are now able to have clear vision and to reduce or eliminate their need for glasses. They will also never need treatment for cataracts. Face & Eye surgeons also have the advantage of being able to offer the use of the femtosecond laser for this surgery, thereby carrying out the surgery with bladeless techniques.
The operation is similar to that performed on cataract patients. On the day of surgery you will be given eye drops to dilate the pupil. The area around your eye will be washed and cleansed. The operation usually lasts about 15 minutes and is almost painless as it is generally performed under a local or topical anaesthetic. If you have astigmatism the surgeon may correct it with specifically-placed miniature incisions around the edge of the cornea. (This is now more accurate with the use of the femtosecond laser).
The technology used is a machine called a phacoemulsifier (phaco). The surgeon makes a micro-incision on the side of the cornea, no more than 3.0mm and inserts a tiny probe into the eye. This ‘phaco’ device emits ultrasound waves that break up the lens and the same probe removes the lens material by suction. Once removed the original lens matter is replaced by the lens implant which is folded, and inserted through the tiny incision. It then unfolds once in place in the eye. There are often no stitches, you can return home to relax the same day and look forward to a rapid and pain-free recovery.
Many patients remark on the immediate improvement in their vision. This is important for the surgeon to monitor so he can determine what focal power to aim for in the second eye. You can return to work or many of your usual activities within a few days but will return to hospital to have the second eye done within a couple of weeks.
The true benefit of PRELEX is not evident until both eyes have been done and the brain has had time to adjust to its new visual system.