Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)

More and more people are choosing refractive lens exchange (RLE) for improved quality of life. Worldwide, over 50 million intraocular lenses (IOL) have been implanted in patients. Although RLE is similar to cataract surgery, the reasons for performing the surgery differ: RLE is performed for patients whose natural lenses have insufficient power to permit a clear vision without visual aids. One crucial difference is that refractive lens exchange replaces a clear lens while cataract surgery replaces a cloudy one. Furthermore, RLE is recommended for patients who are not candidates for laser vision correction.

What are the steps of the Refractive Lens Exchange?

Before the procedure, eye drops are administered to dilate pupils. This step may trigger light sensitivity and blurred vision. Following this, additional eye drops will be used to anesthetize the patient’s eyes.

The surgery itself consists of four easy steps:

Step 1


Step 1 – The surgeon creates a tiny incision in the eye, where the lens will be inserted.

Step 2

Step 2 – The surgeon uses state-of-the-art ultrasound technology to remove the natural crystalline lens of the eye. Through this specialized and precise instrument, called a phacoemulsifier, the natural lens is then removed.

Step 3


Step 3 – The natural lens is replaced with a new foldable artificial lens.

Step 4

Step 4 – The new lens unfolds and takes the place of the natural lens, for an easy and smooth transition. The procedure is completed, with no stitches required, allowing for a speedy self-healing process. The procedure generally takes less than 15 minutes per eye.

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Please note that those who have had surgery will not be allowed to drive home following their procedure and must arrange for transportation ahead of time.

RLE can be used to correct nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), lens opacities, and, when special lenses are used, some astigmatism and presbyopia.

If you are interested to learn more about or to find out if you are a candidate for the refractive lens exchange procedures that we offer, book a free, no-obligation consultation today.