Does refractive lens exchange hurt?

When you have reflective lens surgery it’s done in an operating theatre and patients are awake but the eye is completely numbed with drops and solutions so that there are no needles or anything painful around the eye.

Many patients choose to have sedation. And by the I mean an anaesthetist will, through a vein in the hand, give them a drug like a valium just to take a bit of anxiety away. Because everybody who’s having an eye operation is nervous and some people feel nervous enough that they just like that softened by some valium or similar drugs in a vein that an anaesthetist would administer.

The procedure takes about 15 minutes. People are worried, often worried that they’ll see something going on. But the eye is draped so only the eye operated on is exposed. Because as a surgeon we use a microscope light, all patients see is bright lights.

Interestingly I’ve had a couple of patients who are artists and they have painted what they saw, and what they see really is very colourful. Very coloured waterfalls or very abstract colours. And that’s what most people describe, that they just see lots of kaleidoscope coloured lights.

More about Robert Morris

Rob Morris is a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at The Grange Eye Consultants. His special expertise is in cataract and refractive surgery, including Refractive Lens Exchange, and adult squint. He has over 30 years experience in treating people with eye problems. Rob Morris founded Grange Eye Consultants to manage the increasing demand for more complex refractive surgery. He leads clinical trials investigating novel eye treatments. He is currently Medical Director at Optegra Eye Hospitals.