Clear lens extraction (CLE) is similar to cataract surgery. Both involve the removal of the eye's natural lens, replacing it with a synthetic lens. In most cases, the synthetic lens corrects for distance vision, usually requiring a pair of reading glasses for close work. Different synthetic lens replacement options include correction for both distance and near vision as well as lenses that can correct for astigmatism.

This procedure may be used for patients who have farsightedness or nearsightedness combined with astigmatism. Presbyopic patients can also benefit.

Surgical Options

There are four surgical options that your specialist could use when implanting the clear lenses. Read more about the four surgical options for CLE.

Pros & Cons in Choosing Clear Lens Extraction


  • CLEs are an alternative for patients who are not eligible for laser surgery.
  • The correct high myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness) that is out of the range of laser surgery and phakic IOLs.
  • You will no longer develop a cataract as the lens has been removed and replaced by a clear implant.
  • You will experience minimal postoperative discomfort.


  • You might lose your ability to accommodate; you may need reading glasses for near vision.
  • The placement procedure is more invasive than laser refractive surgery; it is done in the operating room with topical and/or general anesthesia.
  • It is more difficult to remove than phakic IOLs.

Amy Lin, MD

Patient Rating:


4.7 out of 5

Amy Lin, MD, specializes in the medical and surgical treatment of corneal and anterior segment diseases at the Moran Eye Center, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, and at the Moran Eye Center at the Midvalley Health Center. Her interests include corneal transplantation, anterior segment reconstruction, cataract surgery (including advanced technolo... Read More

Mark D. Mifflin, MD

Patient Rating:


4.8 out of 5

Mark D. Mifflin is a board-certified, fellowship trained cornea, cataract, and refractive surgeon with over 20 years of clinical experience.  His specialties include complex cataract surgery, all forms of corneal transplantion, reconstructive surgery of the anterior segment of the eye, and LASIK, PRK, and intraocular lens vision correction.  Dr. Mi... Read More

Brian E. Zaugg, MD

Patient Rating:


4.7 out of 5

Brian Zaugg, MD, specializes in the medical and surgical treatment of corneal and anterior segment eye diseases, including expertise in all types of cornea transplantation, routine and complex cataract surgery (including multifocal lenses and laser assisted surgery), anterior segment reconstruction, pterygium removal, refractive surgery including L... Read More

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