Refractive Lens Exchange

What is Refractive Lens Exchange or RLE?


Refractive lens exchange is tailored to patients with severe myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness) or astigmatism who may not be a candidate for corneal based refractive surgeries (SMILE, LASIK, PRK). It is especially useful in treating presbyopia, which is the inability to focus at near distances as we age.

Unlike laser refractive surgeries, which change the shape of the front surface of the eye-the cornea, RLE changes the focusing power of the lens inside the eye. Similar to cataract surgery, the clear natural lens that sits behind the colored part of you eye-the iris- is removed and replaced with an intraocular lens implant (IOL) that corrects the refractive error of your eye. The main difference between cataract surgery and RLE is the replacement of a clear lens versus a cloudy lens seen in cataract patients.

With RLE surgery your risk of developing cataracts is eliminated due to the natural lens being removed. The risk of regression (deterioration of vision) over time is minimal. The lens implant is designed and intended to last your lifetime.

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