Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) is a type of corrective eye surgery that replaces the eye’s natural crystalline lens that sits behind the iris with an artificial intraocular lens to provide sharper vision. This advanced procedure can often be a great vision correction option for individuals who are not good candidates for LASIK surgery or PRK, as well as for those who have severe nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and/or astigmatism. Due to its proven safety and efficacy as an alternative to to LASIK and PRK, the age requirement for RLE has been lowered to 40. Baltimore ophthalmologist Jay C. Grochmal, MD is highly trained and experienced in performing Refractive Lens Exchange, and he can use this treatment to help significantly improve the clarity of your vision while reducing—or potentially eliminating—your dependence on glasses and contact lenses.
Benefits of RLE
Refractive Lens Exchange offers several advantages for men and women seeking to improve their visual acuity. Key benefits of RLE include:
- A safe and effective alternative to LASIK or PRK
- Can be used for early cataract treatment
- Acute refractive error issues (particularly high myopia) can be treated
- A diminished reliance on corrective eyewear
- Once performed, cataracts can never develop
- Permanent results
When Should RLE Be Considered?
Refractive Lens Exchange is usually elected for the following conditions:
- For early treatment of cataracts, it’s a similar procedure to standard cataract surgery and can be advantageous to treat sooner rather than later.
- For patients who do not meet the criteria for LASIK or PRK, RLE can be a safer alternative choice to vision correction.
- For patients who wish to permanently correct farsightedness (hyperopia) or nearsightedness (myopia).
- Refractive Lens Exchange is used instead of LASIK if the cornea of the eye is too thin or the patient has other minor corneal problems that cannot be corrected effectively with LASIK.
The Refractive Lens Exchange Procedure
The Refractive Lens Exchange procedure is similar to modern cataract surgery. A tiny incision is first made at the edge or the periphery of the cornea, and the eye’s natural crystalline lens is removed. An artificial intraocular lens (IOL) designed to permit clear focus of light rays on the retina is then carefully inserted into place, resulting in enhanced vision. To reduce any potential discomfort during treatment, anesthetic eye drops will be administered, and intravenous sedation may also be utilized to further increase comfort. The entire RLE procedure generally takes about 20 minutes to complete, and patients are able to return home the same day.
Recovery from RLE
Recovery after RLE is generally quick, with most individuals being able to resume normal daily routines—with a few minor exceptions—the following day. Dr. Grochmal will provide postoperative care instructions based on your unique needs in order to help facilitate the healing process. Should you have any questions or concerns, he and/or a knowledgeable member of our staff will be happy to assist in any way possible.
Contact Grochmal Eye Care
Grochmal Eye Center specializes in Refractive Lens Exchange procedures, so you can be assured that if RLE is recommended, it’s with great care to your individual vision health. For more information, or to find out if this treatment is right for you, contact Grochmal Eye Center for a consultation or appointment.