Refractive Lens Exchange

What is Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)?

Today the Lakeshore Eye physicians are happy to announce a break through surgical procedure called "Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)." The RLE technique is designed to reduce or eliminate the need for distance glasses or contact lenses for people over 40.

What is Refractive Lens Exchange?

The technique for RLE involves removing the natural lens from the eye by the use of ultrasound. Unlike other refractive procedures that change the shape of the cornea, RLE corrects vision by removing the crystalline lens in the eye and replacing it with a new artificial lens of a different focusing power, much like what happens in cataract surgery.

  • Most cases, the focusing power of the natural lens is restored with an intraocular lens implant
  • Used to treat both farsightedness and nearsightedness
  • Can treat a wide range of vision errors and has a low complication rate

How the Procedure Works: 

RLE is performed on an outpatient basis and usually only takes about 15 minutes. Once the eye has been anesthetized and cleaned, the doctor will create a small incision on the eye under an operating microscope. The natural lens is gently fragmented and removed by the use of ultrasound. Then a plastic intraocular lens (IOL) is implanted to replace the natural lens that was removed. There are three types of IOL's, and the doctor will decide which is the best IOL for you. (See below for the types of IOL's.) The incision is then closed and a protective shield is placed on your eye.

  • Multifocul IOLs - A multifocul lens implant is a lens that has a bifocal correction built into the periphery of the lens.
  • Monovision IOLs - Corrects a patients dominant eye for distance and leaves the non-dominant eye slightly under corrected so the patient can retain the ability to see near.
  • Accommodating IOLs - The accommodating IOL is specially designed so it may move forward and backward within the eye in response to flexing of the same muscles that manipulated the patient's natural lens for accommodation.

CLE is for those who are/want:

  • Over 40
  • Reduce or eliminate their dependence on glasses or contact
  • Both very nearsighted or farsighted with early cataract formation
  • Very nearsighted or farsighted
  • To treat presbyopia with a multifocal implant
  • Looking for an alternative to LASIK
  • What are the risks Associated with RLE?

As with any surgical procedure, there is always an inherent risk. Although very uncommon, risks associated with RLE are similar to that of cataract surgery including bleeding, swelling, infection, retinal detachment and capsular opacification. If you have further questions regarding risks associated with RLE, please feel free to contact Lakeshore Eye Physicians at 866-798-6633.

Important Update