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Clear Lens Extraction

With clear lens extraction (CLE), the patient’s eye lens is removed and replaced with a permanent artificial lens (a so-called intraocular lens). This corrects near-sightedness, far-sightedness and/or corneal irregularity.


Starting at age  50, most also have age-related far-sightedness: the eye lens loses the ability to focus on various distances. This natural "accommodation" is then slowly lost.

Theoretically, the patient also has the option of correcting the eye defect with ICL implantation. As a result of an successful intervention, the patient would then be able to enjoy everyday activities (sports, etc.) without glasses.


Reading glasses would still be required for reading and/or computer use.

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Advantages related to the CLE

  • The multi-focal lens allows most patients to live life without glasses.

  • The patient will never be afflicted by cataract for the duration of his or her life and will never require this type of surgery again.

Costs of the procedure

  • Preliminary examination: CHF 350.-

  • Surgery and premium lens varies by lens strength: starting at CHF 4,900.- 

  • Insurance never covers the costs (surgery, lens) of the surgery. 

Just as with cataract surgery, the Vista Alpina Eye Clinic recommends replacing the eye lens with a multi-focal intraocular lens starting at age 50 in this respect. This is referred to as “clear lens extraction” since there is no cataract yet

As with all procedures, there still is a residual risk of complications with CLE - depending on the quality of the surgery. For example, the risk of retinal detachment following cataract or CLE surgery is slightly greater than without surgery. Survey studies with tens of thousands of patients show retinal detachment occurs in 0.26% of cases during the year following the surgical procedure, which is slightly greater than the risk of retinal detachment in patients, who did not undergo surgery at all (1).

Other studies have shown the risk of retinal detachment in young patients (< age 60) undergoing cataract or CLE surgery to be greater (3.8 x higher) (2). Another risk factor favourable to retinal detachment following cataract or CLE surgery is severe near-sightedness. The by far greatest risk factor for retinal detachment following cataract surgery is however a tear in the lens capsular bag (“laceration of the capsule”) during surgery. The laceration of the capsule is the most dreaded intraoperative complication and still occurs in an average of 1.5 - 2% of all cataract surgeries today. Following cataract surgery with the complication of a laceration of the capsule, the risk of retinal detachment is 20x (!) greater than following a surgery without complications (3). All studies also show the rate of complications for cataract surgery to greatly depend on the surgeon’s experience and his or her annual amount of surgeries.

(1) Stein et al. Ophtahlmology 2011; 118:1716-1723 / (2) Clark et al.Arch. Ophthalm. 2012;130:882-888 /(3) Tuft et al. Ophthalmology 2006; 113:650-656

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