Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)


Refractive lens exchange is most commonly performed to treat higher levels of myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness) in patients over age forty.

RLE is a painless outpatient procedure. It involves removing the eye’s natural lens, as in a cataract operation. A flexible synthetic lens implant is then placed inside the eye through a tiny incision. The tiny incision closes by itself, without sutures.

Visual recovery is quite rapid. You are able to return to work the day after your procedure. RLE may also be fine-tuned with LASIK if a small refractive error remains.

Routine follow-up visits after RLE are scheduled on postoperative-day 1 and -month 1. You’ll use some eye drops after your procedure for a month. If both eyes are corrected for distance vision, you will require reading glasses after your procedure. However, monovision corrections are possible with RLE to decrease or even eliminate your need for reading glasses. Or new intraocular lenses, called presbyopic lenses, can be implanted at the time of lens extraction. These lenses allow you to see both near and far after the operation.


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