Refractive lens exchange (RLE) is used to correct refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism) by the removal of your natural crystalline lens and replacing it with specialized lens implant technology. This procedure is identical to modern cataract surgery but is done for purpose of eliminating dependency on glasses and contact lenses. This option is suitable for many patients that are in their 50’s or beyond that desire a vision correction procedure prior to development of visually significant cataract. Everyone develops presbyopia as they approach age 50 where we naturally lose our ability to focus at near in the absence of natural nearsightedness. LASIK is not ideal for this age demographic because reading glasses are still necessary afterward.
With RLE, the advanced intraocular lenses are able to focus your vision for distance or a combination of both distance and near with minimal dependency on glasses and contact lenses. The toric intraocular lens implants are able to correct astigmatism at the time of the lens removal so that your distance vision can be improved. You will still need reading glasses to see up close. The PanOptix multifocal intraocular lens implant can correct your vision for both distance and near without need for any glasses. You should discuss these various options with Dr. Rush.
Refractive Lens Exchange with these advanced lens implant technologies are affordable through a variety of financing options.
Everyone will also develop visually significant cataract over time. If you already have some degree of cataract present, then RLE is a procedure that “kills two birds with one stone”. LASIK is not an ideal procedure if cataract will likely progress within the next few years because the cataract will then have to be treated with another surgery to restore the vision in the not too distant future. Successful RLE eliminates the need for cataract surgery later in life.
Most of the instructions that are related to advanced cataract surgery also apply to RLE. But with RLE, both eyes are done on the same day in the ambulatory surgery center.