Refractive Lens Exchange

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) is a refractive surgery that is virtually identical to the more common cataract surgery.  As an alternative to laser vision correction, RLE aims to provide the best vision possible without glasses.

In RLE, the natural lens is removed and an intraocular lens (IOL) is placed into the eye to improve the optical focus and in turn enhance the natural vision of the eye.  The replacement IOL can correct for hyperopia and myopia, and in some cases for astigmatism.  This surgery is virtually identical to cataract surgery except that patients are usually younger and have not yet developed a cataract. 

Certain patients may choose RLE because of its advantage in correcting extremely high amounts of hyperopia and myopia, which may not be possible with laser vision correction.  Once RLE has been performed, it becomes impossible for the patient to develop a cataract in the future.  There are also other considerations for RLE that include a decrease in near vision and the related risks of any intraocular surgery. 

Careful evaluation of each patient’s specific needs and visual demands are required before any refractive procedure is recommended.  For the right patient, RLE is able to provide perhaps the best improvement in natural vision!