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Refractive Lens Exchange

Replacing the natural lens of your eye, and inserting a tailor made lens that can help you see from near and far distances without the use of spectacles.

What is RLE?

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE), also called lens replacement surgery or clear lens extraction, may be a better option than laser eye surgery or phakic lens implant for people with presbyopia and high hyperopia (farsightedness). RLE also can correct myopia (nearsightedness).

RLE replaces your eye’s clear natural lens with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) to correct your refractive error and achieve sharper focus, reducing your need for reading glasses or bifocals.

This procedure is typically suited for people with presbyopia or extreme farsightedness, for whom other types of procedures are generally are not suitable. If you have both presbyopia and moderate to severe hyperopia, RLE may be the only viable option for clear vision and minimal reliance on glasses after refractive surgery.

RLE surgery

The procedure for RLE surgery is virtually identical to cataract surgery. The difference is that in RLE, the lens being replaced is clear, rather than a cloudy lens due to a cataract. RLE surgery can help to get rid of all your spectacles, prevents the formation of cataracts at a later age and ensure you enjoy the unique experience of sharp vision again.

Intraocular Lens (IOL) design

A comprehensive eye examination is followed by the calculation for the IOL design, that is the planning of the implanted IOL power and type. This type is optional according to the patient’s needs, depending on whether the patient wants to see clearly only for farsightedness after the surgery, or for both farsightedness and nearsightedness as well.

Treating Presbyopia

Fix near-sightedness and get rid of eyeglasses or contact lenses to see objects nearby.

What is Presbyopia?

Presbyopia is the gradual loss of your eyes’ ability to focus on nearby objects. It’s a natural, and often disruptive part of aging. Presbyopia usually becomes noticeable in your early to mid-40s and continues to worsen until around age 65.

You may become aware of presbyopia when you start holding books, newspapers and mobile phones or tablets at arm’s length to be able to read them. A basic eye exam can confirm presbyopia. You can correct the condition with eyeglasses or contact lenses. You might also consider surgery.

Symptoms of presbyopia

Presbyopia develops gradually. You may first notice these signs and symptoms after age 40:

  • A tendency to hold reading material farther away to make the letters clearer
  • Blurred vision at normal reading distance
  • Eyestrain or headaches after reading or doing close work
  • Presbyopia
  • You may notice these symptoms are worse if you are tired, drank alcohol or are in an area with dim lighting.

Risks & Complications

Refractive lens exchange surgery is usually very successful, if there are no other pre-existing eye conditions. However, it is important to realize that there is always a risk of complications associated with any operation.

Complications that may occur during the operation

  • Internal bleeding
  • Damage to other structures of the eye, including the capsule surrounding the lens
  • Incomplete removal of the cataract
  • Part of the cataract falling into the back of the eye

Several of these complications can be dealt with at the time of the surgery or just after surgery.

Potential (rare) complications occurring after the operation

  • Severe infection
  • Fluid accumulating at the back of the eye (in the retina, the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye)
  • Detachment of the retina
  • Clouding of the membrane behind the lens

These complications can sometimes occur even if the operation itself is carried out perfectly. 

Many of these complications are manageable, although it may mean that other treatments may be required and the recovery period may be longer than usual. This may include the need for additional surgery. 

The most serious consequence of all the complications is the risk of loss of vision in extremely rare cases. If the membrane behind the artificial lens becomes cloudy, this will make your vision blurry again. If this happens, laser treatment may be needed some time after the surgery, restoring back your clear vision.

We would like to remind you that these risks are not common and that all necessary precautions will be taken by our professional staff to ensure that you have an uneventful procedure.

Other Treatments

Learn More

Refractive Lens Exchange

Replacing the natural lens of your eye, and inserting a tailor made lens that can help you see from near and far distances without the use of spectacles.

Cataract Extraction

Removing the cloudy lens, and replacing it with a premium lens for a better visual outcome.

Phakic Lens Implantation

Inserting a small lens beneath the surface of the eye for those having high myopia and wanting to get rid of their glasses or contact lenses.

Intracorneal Ring Segments (ICRS) Implantation

Inserting an ophthalmic medical device for reducing or eliminating myopia and astigmatism in patients with keratoconus.

Ready to correct your vision?