5 Things To Know About Refractive Lens Exchange

refractive lens exchange

Laser Vision Correction Can Help You Improve Your Eyesight

You probably know it as a type of vision correction surgery.

And that’s exactly what it is!

At Durrie Vision, our doctors call it refractive lens exchange – and it’s a little different from LASIK. While it’s not for everyone, it can make a big difference in the lives of people with certain vision problems.

During refractive lens surgery, your clear natural lens in your eye is replaced with an artificial intraocular lens to correct your refractive error, which reduces your need for bifocals or reading glasses.

If you’ve never heard of this exact procedure, don’t worry! We’ll explain the top five things you should know about refractive lens exchange, also called RLE.

Refractive lens surgery is for people over 50 experiencing issues with near or reading vision.

As we age, so do our natural eye lenses. Over time, they harden, discolor, and thicken. The process causes a progressive loss of the ability to “zoom” your eyes in on up-close objects, which is called presbyopia. The yellowing of the lens results in the formation of cataracts. These vision changes tend to occur in people who are in their 40s, 50s, and 60s.

RLE is often suitable for patients with both presbyopia, and severe hyperopia, a related condition in which your eyes do not focus sharply on nearby objects.

RLE is a similar procedure to cataract surgery.

If you know someone who used to have cataracts, they probably have talked about the outpatient surgery they underwent to restore their vision.

Surgery for lens refraction follows nearly the same as the process for cataract surgery. The difference is that your natural lens is still clear, while the cataract surgery removes a cloudy lens.

Just like with cataract surgery, your physician at Durrie Vision can choose from three types of intraocular lens (IOL), depending on your needs. Your doctor will decide which is best for you.

  • Monofocal fixed-focus IOL, which provides clear vision at a distance, intermediate, and near ranges, but not simultaneously.
  • Multifocal IOL, which provides clear vision at multiple distances.
  • Accommodating IOL, a type of monofocal lens that allows you to focus at multiple distances, by shifting its position within your eye.

The artificial lens is meant to be a permanent replacement for your natural lens and should last you the rest of your life, without vision regression over time.

RLE provides lasting, LASIK-like results.

Although LASIK eye surgery is an excellent solution for people with refractive errors of the cornea, like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, it doesn’t address visual issues stemming from the lens inside the eye, like presbyopia and early cataract development.

For lens-related visual conditions, Refractive Lens Exchange is a suitable option that produces the same exceptional visual outcome: crisp, clear vision without the need for glasses, contact lenses, reading glasses, or bifocals.

RLE also eliminates the need for future cataract surgery by replacing the lens that would otherwise continue to deteriorate over time.

RLE is an outpatient surgery.

Like LASIK, you can expect to go home after RLE – with someone to drive you, of course.

The entire procedure takes only about 15 minutes, but each eye is operated on separately, with some time in between for recovery.

Before the surgery, your doctor will apply anesthetic drops to your eye, so you don’t feel any discomfort during the procedure. Afterward, you can expect to spend about a week recovering before you opt to participate in your normal activities.

Although the recovery time is short as far as surgeries go, it can take several weeks to see the final results of your vision correction surgery.

RLE is a safe, effective procedure.

Lens replacement is one of the safest medical procedures and is a very common surgery.

Like all surgical procedures, there are some complications to be aware of, but you can reduce your risk for them by choosing a reputable surgeon, like Durrie Vision, and by following aftercare procedures. Otherwise, possible complications can generally be resolved with simple, additional treatment.

Find out if you’re a candidate for laser vision correction.

Durrie Vision in Overland Park is Kansas City’s provider of vision correction surgery. To pre-screen yourself to determine whether you may be a candidate for this type of surgery, complete our online quiz.

Then, if you’re ready for a consultation with one of our opthalmologists specializing in vision surgery, call our office at 913-491-3330, or book online.

The Durrie Vision team can’t wait to see you – and to help you see better.