If you want to gain greater visual freedom and experience less dependence on visual aids like glasses and contact lenses, you may want to consider refractive lens exchange, also called RLE. RLE is a kind of vision correction surgery that can correct refractive errors, similar to other popular refractive procedures like LASIK.
RLE is an effective procedure that can improve vision and reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contacts. Keep reading to learn more about refractive lens exchange, including whether or not it is safe!
What is Refractive Lens Exchange?
Refractive lens exchange is a surgical procedure to replace your eye’s natural lens with an artificial lens. The type of lens used for RLE is called an intraocular lens IOL.
The IOL has a vision correction prescription customized to correct your vision, just like a contact lens or glasses lens. RLE surgery treats a variety of vision issues, including:
- Age-related farsightedness (presbyopia)
There are many different types of IOLs. Your eye doctor can help you decide which type of IOL is most appropriate for you based on your vision goals and lifestyle.
What Happens During Refractive Lens Exchange?
RLE surgery uses the exact same techniques as cataract surgery. It’s one of the most common and safest surgical procedures in the United States.
It’s performed in your eye doctor’s office, and you will be awake the whole time. The procedure only takes about fifteen to thirty minutes.
Your eye doctor will use eye drops to numb the surface of your eye to ensure you are comfortable. After that, your eye doctor makes a small incision on the surface of the eye.
They use special tools to break up and remove the natural lens. Using the same incision, they place the artificial lens in your eye and settle it into the proper position.
Full recovery takes about eight weeks, but most people can return to normal activities sooner than that. Many people notice improved vision within days of the procedure.
What are the Benefits of Refractive Lens Exchange?
There are a lot of benefits to RLE surgery for vision correction, including:
- Can treat a variety of refractive errors
- Reduces or eliminates the need for glasses
- It prevents cataracts since cataracts only form on natural lenses, not IOLs
RLE surgery, like cataract surgery, is considered very safe. As with any surgery, there is a risk of complications, including infection.
However, most side effects are minor, like soreness and swelling. They usually get better within a few days.
How Do I Know if Refractive Lens Exchange is Right For Me?
RLE is a good option for people who are not candidates for LASIK or other corneal refractive surgeries. RLE is not recommended for people who have macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, corneal disease, or risk factors for retinal detachment.
It is also important that you are not pregnant or breastfeeding and that you are in good general health. The best way to know whether or not you may be a candidate for RLE is to visit your eye doctor at EyeHealth Northwest for a full evaluation.
Do you want to learn if you are a candidate for RLE? Schedule an appointment at Eyehealth Northwest in Portland, OR, today!