Refractive Lens Exchange

As you age, your eyes begin to lose their ability to see clearly at certain distances. Once you are in your forties, you will likely need reading glasses to see objects and text that are up close.

But you don’t have to live with reading glasses for the rest of your life. Once you notice your up-close vision fading, talk to your eye doctor about refractive lens exchange (RLE).

This simple procedure could end your need for glasses forever. The surgeons at New England Eye Center have decades of experience performing RLE.

Why Do You Need Refractive Lens Exchange?

RLE is a vision correction procedure for people affected by presbyopia. It also goes by the names lens replacement surgery or clear lens extraction.

Presbyopia happens to adults in their forties and causes their natural lenses to stiffen or lose flexibility.

When your eyes focus on something up close, the lens of your eye elongates to see the near object. When your natural lens loses flexibility, this prevents elongation from occurring.

Losing your ability to focus on objects up close is why you need reading glasses. Reading glasses help your stiffening lens by focusing on things that are near you.

Presbyopia is a common condition that happens to most adults.

What is RLE?

RLE is a presbyopia correction procedure. It replaces lenses that have lost their flexibility due to presbyopia with artificial lenses called intraocular lenses or IOLs.

IOLs can restore your vision to how it used to be and, in some cases, even give you the best eyesight you’ve ever had.

Refractive lens exchange is fundamentally the same procedure as cataract surgery. Both replace your natural lenses with IOLs to enhance your vision. The only difference is that cataracts are not affecting your vision yet when you undergo RLE.

Both presbyopia and cataracts cannot affect artificial lenses. When you undergo RLE, you fix your presbyopia and ensure that cataracts won’t affect you later in life.

How does RLE work?

The procedure for RLE is the same as cataract surgery. It begins with numbing eye drops to ensure that you don’t feel a thing.

Then your surgeon makes a small incision in your cornea, allowing them to access your lens behind your cornea. Next, they use a probe to break your natural lens in a process called phacoemulsification.

Having the lens in small pieces allows the surgeon to remove the lens pieces using gentle suction. Once the lens is gone, your surgeon places your chosen IOL in your eye.

The final step is closing the incision in your cornea. You’ll go home to rest and recuperate for the next week or two.

How To Choose an IOL

There are a lot of different IOLs available to replace your aging natural lenses. The most basic are monofocal IOLs.

They correct your vision at a single distance and are the most common IOL. Most people elect to have their distance vision corrected.

Since monofocal IOLs only correct vision at one distance, you still need glasses. For example, if you correct your distance vision with a monofocal, you will still need reading glasses. If you fix your up-close vision, you will need glasses or contacts for distance vision.

If you want to end your need for glasses entirely, you want to consider a premium IOL. Premium IOLs can correct your vision at multiple distances.

There are a lot of different premium IOLs to choose from depending on your post-procedure vision goals. Your eye doctor will help you select the best premium IOL for your lifestyle.

Schedule an appointment with New England Eye Center in Boston, MA. Find out if RLE is the vision correction solution for you.

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