How to Prepare for RLE Surgery

How to Prepare for RLE Surgery


Pen ticking a box in green ink - cataracts

RLE: Refractive Lens Exchange

The day is almost here for you to have your refractive lens exchange surgery!  You have visited your Ophthalmologist and you’re informed about your procedure and expected results.  Here is an additional comprehensive guide on what to do in the lead-up to surgery.

Preparation helps to ensure a smooth easy surgery day and zero confusion.

Prior to Surgery – How to Prepare

Keep an eye out for infection from as early as 10 days prior…

It is important at the time of surgery that no eye infection is present. If in the 10 days prior to surgery you feel that your eye is becoming red or is beginning to discharge at all, please ring the rooms in order to discuss your symptoms and discuss the likelihood of proceeding or postponing.

If there is any change in your general health, such as heart problems, chest problems or a severe cold associated with a cough, please inform the clinic.

how to prepare for cataract surgery - a woman removing her contact lensContact Lenses

Please do not wear a contact lens in your operation eye during the 3 days prior to surgery.

Eye Drops (Pre-operative)

You are required to apply an antibiotic eye drop (Chlorsig or Chloramphenicol) four times per day* for THREE DAYS PRIOR to your surgery date. If your surgery is on a Tuesday, you will begin your eye drop on the Saturday before.

a person putting an eye drop into eye before cataract surgery

*If you are having only one eye corrected or having your eyes corrected on different dates, only apply the drop to the eye having surgery.

You should have either purchased an eye drop bag from the clinic or received prescriptions to collect them yourself from a pharmacy.  The drop bags provided will also include your post-operative eye drops.

green circle with a white tick insideYou should continue to use the eye drops on the day of surgery and take them with you to the hospital at your scheduled admission time.

Eye Drop Medication Chart

At the time of arranging your RLE surgery, you will be advised of what aftercare is required which includes eye drops.  You will have been provided an ‘Eye Drop Medication Chart’ (see image at bottom of page) along with your other surgery paperwork.

Day of Surgery – How to Prepare


It is important to be comfortable and practical when making clothing decisions on the day of your surgery.  Please wear warm, loose fitting clothes. You do not need to get changed but will be given a gown to wear over your clothes. Flat, non-slip shoes are the best to wear if you have them.  Please bring a pair of non-prescription sunglasses to wear home after your procedure.

Makeup, Perfume & Jewellery 

woman removing makeup - how to prepare for cataract  and RLE surgery

Please do not wear any make-up, perfume, aftershave, spray-on deodorant, hairspray or jewellery above the neck.  Thoroughly remove all traces of make-up from around your eyes the night before your procedure.

Food & Fasting

a plate of food placed into a smiley face. Bacon, cucumber, fried eggs, toast. prepare rle surgery

In some cases, patients are requested to fast prior to surgery. Please refer to your ‘Operation Letter’ which will provide specific details around fasting requirements.  Most patients are not required to fast and should have a light, non-fatty breakfast.

You will be given something to eat and drink after your procedure. You should continue your usual medications, especially if you are diabetic or on treatment for reflux.


Please shower/bathe on the morning of your surgery or the night before if you have an early admission.  Wash your hair and skin thoroughly.

Always contact your Doctor if you are unsure of anything regarding pre-operative instructions, the day of surgery or aftercare protocol. 

Eye drop Medication Chart

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*This blog is a guide and has been created for the use of patients having surgery with Dr Graham Furness.