Are You a Good Candidate for Refractive Lens Exchange?

Sub Title

The woman's eyes narrowed vision problems glasses in her hand
by Dougherty Laser Vision

Poor vision can be disruptive and frustrating. Thankfully, there is an extensive range of treatments available for eye conditions like near- or far-sightedness and astigmatism. Refractive surgery is one of the most commonly recommended permanent solutions for refractive errors, and a refractive lens exchange is one such procedure.

What Is RLE?

A refractive lens exchange (RLE) procedure involves a surgeon using ultrasound to remove the lens of the eye and replace it with an intraocular lens (IOL).

The procedure typically follows a simple treatment plan:

  • Patients are provided with a mild sedative and numbing eye drops.
  • The skin around your eyes is sterilized, and coverings are placed around your eyes.
  • Your eye is held open with an eyelid holder as your surgeon makes a small incision in the eye and follows this with fragmenting and removing your natural lens using ultrasound.
  • An intraocular lens is then implanted to replace the removed natural lens.

The entire process only takes around ten minutes per eye, and your vision should begin to clear within a few days after the surgery.

What Are the Different Types of Lenses Used?

IOLs are typically inserted after cataract surgery. However, they can also be used to help treat near- or farsightedness and astigmatism.

There are various lenses available, and your surgeon will typically recommend the best option for you. Lens options include:

  • Multifocal IOLs are an excellent option for people who require advanced vision at both near and long-distance.
  • Astigmatism correction IOLs are single lenses typically implanted during cataract surgery to replace the lens causing clouded vision.
  • Monovision IOLs correct your dominant eye for distance while leaving your non-dominant eye slightly uncorrected so you can still see objects close by.
  • Softec HD IOLs provide higher quality vision than traditional IOLs and are optimized for enhancing intermediate vision without glasses.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Refractive Lens Exchange?

Refractive lens replacement surgery is a good option for a range of candidates, including patients who:

  • Are over the age of 40 who are nearsighted or farsighted or have astigmatism, as RLE repairs both short and long-distance vision
  • Are not good candidates for LASIK and other laser vision correction procedures
  • Don’t want to wear daytime, nighttime, or reading glasses or contact lenses
  • Have early cataracts
  • Wish to treat their presbyopia with a multifocal implant

Benefits of RLE

RLE offers a range of benefits, including:

  • Improved quality of vision
  • The ability to see better under varying conditions
  • Offering eye care that requires minimal maintenance
  • Rapid recovery
  • Fewer complications, as it does not affect the corneal thickness
  • Prevention of the development of cataracts in the future

It is essential to note the RLE cannot improve all forms of vision, and you may not be able to stop wearing glasses or contact lenses entirely.

Risks of RLE

As with any other surgical procedures, RLE carries a few risks, including:

  • Retinal detachment
  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Capsular opacification, which can make it seem like you’ve developed cataracts

What Is the Difference Between LASIK and RLE?

Although refractive lens exchange surgery (RLE) and LASIK can provide similar outcomes, they have several key differences, such as:

  • LASIK surgery involves using a laser to reshape the cornea to improve vision. In comparison, RLE encompasses removing the defective lens and replacing it with an intraocular lens.
  • Unlike LASIK, RLE ensures you will never develop or need treatment for cataracts in the treated eyes.
  • RLE is a much more invasive procedure compared to LASIK, as surgery affects the inner eye and doesn’t only focus on the outer eye as in LASIK.
  • Lens replacement could cause more significant risks than LASIK surgery.
  • RLE can correct advanced myopia, which is not possible with LASIK eye surgery.
  • Optimal age for LASIK surgery is between 20 and 40 years of age, whereas RLE is usually recommended for candidates over 40 or 50.
  • RLE could cause less dry eye than LASIK surgery.

Female doctor examining patient's eyes

Schedule an Online Appointment Today

Besides offering RLE, Dougherty Laser Vision provides a range of other refractive vision correction procedures that can address all your sight-related needs. If you are interested in RLE but want to know more about all the options available to you while obtaining a medical opinion on your condition, attend a complimentary consultation at Dougherty Laser Vision by calling (805) 987-5300 or scheduling an online appointment today.