Refractive Lens Exchange
What is Refractive Lens Exchange?
Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) is a surgical procedure that uses the same successful techniques as modern cataract surgery. Cataract surgery is now the most common and safest surgical procedure performed in medicine today. The main difference between standard cataract surgery and RLE is that cataract surgery is primarily performed to remove a patient’s cataract that is obstructing and clouding their vision, while RLE is performed to minimize a person’s dependence on glasses or contact lenses.
How does it work?
As an alternative to LASIK, refractive lens exchange replaces the natural lens of the eye with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). In doing so, the IOL refocuses light to eliminate refractive errors, rather than changing the shape of the cornea as done in LASIK. The accuracy in obtaining the desired improvement is exceptionally high. In some patients, premium intraocular lenses can be used that may be helpful in improving both distance and near vision. Alternatively, patients may opt for distance vision in both eyes or monovision. Implants are intended to last a lifetime and are made of materials like silicone or acrylic that will not affect your sight.
Who is it for?
Refractive lens exchange can be an excellent option for patients who have refractive errors outside the range treatable with LASIK, for those whose farsightedness can be better alleviated with a new lens, or for patients over the age of 50 who have the start of cataract formation. Often, in these circumstances, the procedure can be a better option than laser vision correction and can be equally effective in reducing dependence on glasses or contact lenses.
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