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To compare the efficacy and intra-operative safety of intracameral mydriatics to topical mydriatics in patients undergoing refractive lens exchange (RLE) surgery.In a randomized intra-individually comparing study performed at Koskelas Eye Clinic, Luleå, and Department of Clinical Sciences/Ophthalmology, Umeå University Hospital, Umeå, Sweden, 56 patients undergoing same-day bilateral RLE were included. Pupils were randomly dilated with topical mydriatics in one eye and intracameral mydriatics in the fellow eye. Pupil sizes were recorded intra-operatively throughout the procedures. Perceived pain/discomfort and glare were assessed immediately postoperatively using a visual analogue scale from 0 to 10.Topical mydriatics and intracameral mydriatics both give satisfactory pupil dilation in routine RLE. However, there was noticeable iris billowing in 17 eyes dilated with topical mydriatics but only one eye with intracameral mydriatics (p < 0.001). Pupils were initially slightly larger in the topical mydriatics group but contracted during surgery. There was no perceived difference with regards to glare, pain or discomfort between the treatments. The surgeon graded intracameral mydriatics eyes as easier to operate on.Both topical mydriatics and intracameral mydriatics give satisfactory mydriasis for RLE, but pupil constriction and iris billowing are more pronounced with topical mydriatics.