Is A Refractive Lens Exchange The Right Choice For You?

Procedures like UtraView Lasik and PRK do an excellent job of correcting vision problems like farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism. However, if you have presbyopia (loss of near vision due to ageing) or suffer from especially severe farsightedness (a condition known as hyperopia), you may not be a good candidate for laser eye surgery. 

Enter refractive lens exchange, or RLE for short.

Middle-aged man reading emails on smartphone without glasses.

Also known as refractive lensectomy or clear lens exchange, RLE is a procedure that replaces your eye’s natural lens with an artificial intraocular lens, or IOL. In this respect, it’s similar to cataract surgery. The defective lens is replaced with an IOL that can help you achieve ideal vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses.

Benefits of RLE include but are not limited to:

  • An effective solution to vision issues caused by presbyopia
  • Reduces and even eliminates your dependence on glasses and contact lenses
  • Does not alter the thickness of your cornea, which eliminate some potential complications
  • Eliminates the possible need for cataract surgery in the future
  • Quick recovery time

How is Refractive Lens Exchange Performed?

RLE is performed on an outpatient basis. After drops are applied to numb your eye and dilate the pupil, your eye surgeon makes a tiny, self-healing incision in your cornea and uses ultrasound to gently remove your natural lens, which is then replaced with an IOL designed to address your particular vision problem. The entire procedure generally takes around 15 to 20 minutes per eye.

There are two types of IOL we use:

  • Single Focus: Has a fixed focal point that is normally set to improve distance vision. Reading glasses may still be required for near vision. Toric single focus IOLs can correct astigmatism. 
  • Expanded Range of Focus (ERF): Has highly specialized optical properties that can bend or divide light to expand the range or depth of focus. These optical properties allow the eye to see both far, intermediate, and near, usually without the help of glasses. Toric extended range of focus IOLs can correct astigmatism.

At one time, each eye had to be treated on a different day if you needed IOLs in both of them. UELC uses leading-edge technology that allows both eyes to be treated during the same visit, which is simpler and more efficient. You will want to arrange for a ride home after each surgery, as you won’t be able to drive.

Recovery from RLE is quick: most people resume normal activities the day after surgery, although we recommend that you wait three days before resuming light exercise and two weeks before doing anything more arduous like aerobics and spin classes. If you love to swim, you can do so with goggles after two weeks and dispense with goggles after four. After that, you’re free to enjoy your clear new view of the world without restrictions! 

Do You Have Questions About Refractive Lens Exchange?

Refractive lens exchange is a safe treatment that painlessly corrects many vision problems. At UELC, our skilled surgeons can help you enjoy its transformative benefits if you are not a good candidate for laser correction. To learn more or schedule an initial consultation, call 416-653-8352.

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