Laser Eye Surgery vs Lens Replacement Surgery

Laser Eye Surgery vs Lens Replacement Surgery

Surgery which is carried out to the eye patients to improve the eyesight is usually called “refractive surgery” or “vision correction”. The surgery enables the patients to be independent of glasses or contact lenses to some extent.

There are two types of surgery: 

1) Laser eye surgery 

2) Lens replacement surgery

The research on the surgery results has revealed that Laser eye surgery and Lens surgery both are safe and successful. Over 99% of people are satisfied and contented with the results of the surgery. There are different factors on which the surgery relies on. They include age, budget, eyesight, eye health and lifestyle. The costs of surgery are different depending on the key-factors. 

The eye surgeon examines the eyes of the patient to assess which kind of surgery is the best option for him or her.

1) Laser eye surgery 

In the Laser eye surgery, lasers are used to reshape the front surface of the cornea in the eyes so that the eye can focus the light in a better way. Laser eye surgery is for the cure of short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism. Laser eye surgery is appropriate for people of age 18 or above. Moreover, the eye prescription does not change almost for two years. 

The conditions in which laser eye surgery is suitable to the patient:

  1. a) The patient is healthy.
  2. b) The patient has a stable vision for almost 2 years.
  3. c) The patient’s age is 21 or above. There is no upper age limit for it.
  4. d) The refractive error should be in the following range

Up to -10.00D of nearsightedness (myopia)

Up to +4.00D of farsightedness (hyperopia)

Up to +/-6.00D of astigmatism

Types of laser eye surgery

The types of laser eye surgery are the following: 



3) Surface Laser Treatments.

  • Lasik: This surgery is carried out with two lasers. The first laser opens up a thin flap in the corneal surface and the second laser reshapes the cornea underneath the thin flap. After reshaping the cornea, the protective flap is placed back smoothly over the cornea without stitches. 
  • Smile: ­­It is the latest advancement in laser vision correction. It stands for “Small Incision Lenticule Extraction”. During a SMILE procedure, the surgeon uses computer-guided, highly focused laser light for cutting a tiny incision in the cornea so that it can remove a small piece of corneal tissue to reshape the cornea and correct the vision. SMILE is a blend of greater comfort and greater precision. 
  • Surface laser treatments (PRK, LASEK and TransPRK): PRK procedure uses anaesthetic drops to numb the eye. Before the surgery, a detailed map of the eye surface is drawn on a computer, and the eye surgeon uses it to calibrate the excimer laser for the exact prescription. The surgeon first removes the corneal surface layer (epithelium) to make the expected shape. The corneal layer is regenerated within 2-5 days. 

Risks in Laser eye surgery

.In the Laser eye surgery, 1 out of 10 people needs fine-tuning for better results. It usually costs no extra money.

Common side effects

There can be Mild, gritty discomfort in the eyes after the laser eye surgery, but the artificial tears can help with this regard. However, the eyes will feel comfortable again in three to six months

The dry eyes are the commonest side effect which usually resolves in 2-3 months 

There can be red marks on the white part of your eye, which usually fades away in a month time.

2) Lens replacement surgery 

The lens replacement surgery is mainly of two types: 

Phakic intraocular lens (PIOL) surgery ( Visian ICL ) 

Refractive lens exchange (RLE).

Phakic Intraocular Lens Implantation (PIOL)

In this surgery, the artificial lenses are set in your eyes, and your own natural lenses are not removed. It is similar to setting the contact lenses into your eyes. Since the lens is set inside the eyes, so you can do many things normally which you cannot do with the contact lens, e.g. swimming etc. As the lens is placed inside the eye, it gives high definition vision due to extra magnification.

The surgeon places and adjusts a new lens in the eye by making a small cut in the surface of the eye. This surgery involves no stitches.


The people of younger age who have a high eye prescription or a high degree of astigmatism and who are not able for eye laser surgery, PIOL ( Visian ICL)  is more suitable for them


Typically there are some discomforts in the vision after PIOL. However, these discomforts disappear after some time. There can be visual disturbances such as glare from headlights of the traffic coming from the opposite side when you are driving at night. There may be the red blotches on the white part of the eye for a few weeks.

There are rare chances for any severe complications. However, any persistent problems after surgery the contact lens can easily be removed by the surgeon. It is a reversible procedure 

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)

In this type of surgery, the surgeon removes the natural lens from the eye and replaces it with a new, artificial lens. RLE resembles cataract surgery.

Two types of artificial lens are used for Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE): one is monofocal, and the other is multifocal. The monofocal lens improves your distance sight. However, you still have to put on glasses for near work. On the other hand, the Trifocal lens improves the clear distance, middle and near vision. However, almost 1% of people find it uncomfortable for them. 


Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) for older people who are not able to have laser eye surgery due to high eye prescription or the beginning of cataracts in their eyes. This is suitable for people wearing Varifocal glasses or distance and reading glasses due to presbyopia.

After surgery, many people suffer from visual side effects and discomfort for a few months, but these side effects should disappear with the passage of time. There is a possibility of severe complications after RLE than after laser eye surgery

Almost one out of 500 people suffer from a significant loss of vision after RLE.

However, before stepping forward to surgery, your eye surgeon can inform you about the risks in detail.

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