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Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) SurgeryWhat is Refractive Lens Exchange Surgery?
Refractive Lens Exchange is a type of vision correction surgery that involves using ultrasound to remove the natural lens of the eye and replacing it with an intraocular lens (IOL) to minimize the use of glasses and contacts.
Who is a Good Candidate for Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)?
Refractive Lens Exchange is an excellent procedure for people who are over age 40-50 and are 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, RLE can be a great alternative to LASIK.
- Any patient who is over age 40-50 who is nearsighted, farsighted, or has astigmatism
- Have early clouding of the lens (dysfunctional lens syndrome)-which is uniform after age 50
- Want to treat presbyopia with a multifocal implant
- Want to reduce or eliminate their dependence on glasses or contact lenses
- Anyone who is nearsighted, farsighted or has astigmatism who has early cataracts (clouding of the lens)
- Are looking for an alternative to LASIK
What to Expect on Surgery Day:
Refractive Lens Exchange is performed in our in-office surgery suite, and only takes about 7 to 10 minutes per eye! Both eyes are typically done on the same day.
Upon ArrivalUpon arrival for your surgery, you will be given a mild sedative (usually Ativan) and you will be given an anesthetic eye drop to numb your eye during the procedure. 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 blinking during the procedure.
During SurgeryUnder an operating microscope, your doctor will create a tiny opening to the eye. The natural lens is gently fragmented and removed by the use of ultrasound (sometimes with the assistance of a femtosecond laser). Then a plastic intraocular lens (IOL) is implanted to replace the natural lens that was removed. Your doctor will determine which type of IOL is best for you (see below for IOL options). The small opening in the eye closes without stitches.
After SurgeryVision typically begins to clear within a few days.
Types of Intraocular Lenses (IOLs)
These are single focus lenses that allow for clear vision at distance or near. Glasses are generally needed after surgery (for example, if an IOL is placed to correct your vision for distance, you will need reading glasses to see up close).
These IOLs are monofocal lenses that additionally correct for astigmatism. Toric IOLs provide better vision than standard monofocal lenses in those who have significant astigmatism affecting their vision.
These IOLs give a wider range of vision without glasses. In most cases, glasses will not be needed either for driving or TV and also close up vision, such as computers or reading. These lenses function somewhat like built-in bifocals, splitting the focused light between distance and near.
Toric Multifocal IOL
These IOLs are multifocal lenses that additionally correct for astigmatism. Toric multifocal IOLs provide better vision than the multifocal lenses in those who have significant astigmatism affecting their vision.
Extended Depth of Focus IOL
These IOLs are designed to allow for an extended range of sharp vision and low incidence of halo and glare. They differ from multifocal lenses by allowing for a more continuous range of near vision instead of multiple points of focus.
Toric Extended Depth of Focus IOL
These IOLs are designed to allow for an extended range of sharp vision and low incidence of halo and glare. They differ from multifocal lenses by allowing for a more continuous range of near vision instead of multiple points of focus. Toric extended depth of focus IOLs provide better vision than the extended depth of focus lenses in those who have significant astigmatism affecting their vision.
What Are the Risks Associated with Refractive Lens Exchange?
Any surgical procedure comes with inherent risk. Although very uncommon, risks associated with RLE are similar to that of cataract surgery including bleeding, swelling, infection, retinal detachment, and capsular opacification. During your pre-operative consultation, your doctor will answer any questions and thoroughly explain these and any other risks associated with RLE.