Refractive Lens Exchange

Refractive lens exchange (RLE) is also called lens replacement surgery or clear lens extraction. In this procedure, the surgeon replaces the eye’s clear natural lens with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) to correct a refractive error and achieve sharper focus. It is an excellent option for people with:

  • High hyperopia (farsightedness)
  • Presbyopia (farsightedness due to aging)
  • Dysfunctional Lens Syndrome (without a cataract, symptoms include decrease in near vision, blurry or yellow-tinted vision, and difficulty driving at night)

RLE may reduce or eliminate the need for reading glasses or bifocals in these patients. It is often the only viable option, as farsighted patients are often not good candidates for LASIK and PRK.

The procedure for refractive lens exchange is nearly identical to cataract surgery. The difference is that in RLE the lens being replaced is clear, rather than cloudy due to a cataract. The recent availability of FDA-approved multifocal or accommodating IOLs has made RLE an attractive choice for many patients.


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