What Is Refractive Lens Exchange

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) might be the procedure of choice for patients who are too nearsighted, farsighted, or have corneas that are too thin for laser vision correction. It is also a viable option for those over the age of 40, or who may be starting to develop cataracts.

The procedure is the same as cataract surgery in that the natural lens is being removed and replaced with a clear, intraocular lens implant. The difference is that with cataract surgery, the lens is being replaced because it has become cloudy. With RLE, the lens is being replaced to reduce your dependence on glasses or contact lenses. It is even possible to reduce dependency on reading glasses with “Expanded Range” IOLs (intraocular lenses).

The RLE Procedure

During the procedure, the natural lens is removed using ultrasonic vibrations through a very tiny micro-incision. An intraocular lens is then inserted through the same incision, and no sutures are required.

One of the benefits of having RLE surgery is that you will never need to have cataract surgery in the future, and your vision will remain relatively stable for the rest of your life. Advanced technology IOLs are optional to suit your unique eyes and lifestyle, providing an opportunity to improve astigmatism and reading vision.

Are You a Candidate for Refractive Lens Exchange Surgery?

  • A comprehensive consultation is performed prior to surgery to ensure you have healthy eyes
  • Over 18 years old
  • Stable glasses prescription for at least one year
  • If you’re pregnant or nursing, your hormonal levels can affect the shape of your eye – you’ll need to wait until your hormones are back to normal levels

What to Expect on the Day of the RLE Surgery

Our team is dedicated to giving you personalized treatment in a friendly, comfortable environment. Our refractive surgeries are performed in our adjacent outpatient surgery center, the Cataract and Laser Center. We understand that patients may be nervous on the day of surgery, so shortly after your arrival you will be given a mild sedative to help you relax. Regardless of the type of refractive surgery, the pre-operative process is the same.

We don’t use any needles or IV’s, just “eye drop” anesthesia. Once your eye is completely numb, an instrument is gently placed between your lids to prevent blinking. You should experience minimal discomfort; just a little stretch of your lids and some pressure at times.
These procedures are usually complete within 15 minutes with a remarkably short recovery time, but plan on being here a few hours for the entire process. Most patients return to normal activities within a day or two. The only restrictions are to not rub your eyes or swim for two weeks.

Get Help – Eye Care of Delaware Performs RLE

Just imagine waking up tomorrow morning and not having to rely on glasses or contact lenses to see the alarm clock, road signs, or your favorite sporting event. By working together with your optometrist, we can make that dream a reality and give you more independence from corrective lenses. Call (302) 454-8800 or request an appointment online to find out if you are a candidate for the Reflective Lens Exchange surgical procedure.