What Is Clear Lens Exchange Surgery (CLE)? - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

What Is Clear Lens Exchange Surgery (CLE)?

In clear lens exchange surgery we remove the clear lens from the eye and replace it with a multifocal or accommodating intra-ocular implant to decrease and sometimes eliminate the need of glasses or contact lenses in order to be able to see all distances (near, intermediate, distance).


Clear Lens Exchange is a good procedure for people who are very nearsighted (distant objects appear blurry), or farsighted (close objects appear blurry), people with early cataract formation, and individuals who want to treat presbyopia (gradual decline in the ability to focus on close objects) with a multifocal implant. For some patients, CLE can be a great alternative to LASIK.

Clear Lens Exchange is for those who:

  • Are over 40
  • Want to reduce or eliminate their dependence on glasses or contact lenses
  • Are both very nearsighted or farsighted with early cataract formation
  • Very nearsighted or farsighted
  • Want to treat presbyopia with a multifocal implant
  • Are looking for an alternative to LASIK 


Prior to the cataract surgery, you will be asked to have another person to drive you to the procedure, because immediately following the cataract surgery, medications and your vision will impair your driving abilities. You will also be asked to arrive at the facility a few hours prior to the surgery. Prior to surgery your eye will be measured to determine the proper power of the intraocular lens that will be placed in your eye.

This procedure is performed on an outpatient basis and only takes about 10 to 15 minutes! No pain! You will be given drops to numb your eye during the procedure along with IV sedation. The skin around your eye will be thoroughly cleansed, and sterile coverings will be placed around your eye to keep the surgical area clean during the procedure. Your eye will be held open with an eyelid holder so you will not have to worry about keeping your eye open during the procedure. 

During cataract surgery, a small ultrasonic probe is inserted into the eye which breaks up the lens into tiny pieces and gently aspirates, those pieces out of the eye. Phaco surgery requires a small incision of only 2.75 mm or less. It is a painless procedure and there are no injections.

Once the cataract is removed, we implant an intra-ocular lens (IOL) made of acrylic or silicone that will last the rest of your life. Your doctor will determine which type of IOL is best for you. The incision is then closed and a protective shield is placed on your eye.


Eye drops may be prescribed to guard against infection and help your eye heal. For a few days, you may need to wear an eye patch to keep away irritants. Everyone heals differently, but most patients see well enough to return to most of their routine activities within a few days of recovery.

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