Newark Refractive Lens Exchange Surgery
Eye Care of Delaware is a first-class refractive lens exchange (RLE) provider in Newark, DE. With more than two decades at the forefront of eye care, Dr. Boyd has vast experience as a refractive surgery specialist. When laser vision correction surgery is not an appropriate solution, RLE offers a proven, dependable procedure for delivering vision correction.
What Is Refractive Lens Exchange
Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) 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).
Refractive Lens Exchange 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 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.
Common Questions About Refractive Lens Exchange
The risk of complications with RLE surgery is very low. While any eye surgery could lead to unexpected issues, we go to great lengths to ensure patient safety and a successful outcome.
The intraocular lenses are intended to be permanent replacements for the body’s natural lenses. For most people, refractive lens exchange surgery will be a lifetime solution for their myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism. In some cases cloudy vision may develop, requiring additional treatment to correct the issue.
Patients may experience minor side effects, but any issues will soon pass. Side effects could include dry eyes, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, temporary redness and halos of light. Recovery times following the RLE procedure are often from 1–2 days.