Refractive lens exchange (RLE) is a procedure that removes your current glasses and replaces them with custom-made, corrected lenses. The new lenses are inserted through a small incision in the side of your eye. This outpatient procedure is typically done as an initial treatment for mild to moderate myopia (nearsightedness).
How does refractive lens exchange work?
Refractive lens exchange (RLE) is a surgical procedure to remove your current glasses and replace them with contact lenses. The surgery is usually done as an outpatient procedure.
RLE is a great option for people who are unable to wear glasses because they have a high prescription or because their glasses don’t fit well. It’s also a good option for people who have trouble getting their contacts adjusted properly.
There are a few different types of RLE procedures. The most common type is the LASIK procedure. LASIK involves using a special laser to cut the cornea in exactly the right place so that the contact lenses can be inserted. Other refractive lens exchange procedures include PRK (photorefractive keratectomy), which uses light to reshape the cornea, and SMILE (sinus mean index keratoplasty), which uses a small incision in the middle of the eye to insert the contact lenses; you can check here for detailed info.
What are the benefits of refractive lens exchange?
RLE is a safe and effective treatment for patients who are unhappy with their current eyeglasses or contact lenses.
The benefits of RLE include:
- Improved vision. After RLE, most patients see an improvement in their vision, whether they need to go from reading glasses to no reading glasses or from contact lenses to no contact lenses. In fact, 94% of patients who have had RLE say that their vision has improved.
- Reduced discomfort. Most people find that wearing new, refractive lenses is much more comfortable than wearing their current glasses or contacts. In fact, nearly everyone who has undergone RLE finds it more comfortable than wearing their old glasses or contacts. This is due to the fact that refractive lenses adjust to your eyes’ natural curves and positions, instead of forcing them into an unnatural position as is the case with glasses and contact lenses. This makes them more comfortable both now and in the long term.
- Reduced risk of glaucoma. Glaucoma is a progressive eye disease that can cause significant vision loss. In fact, almost 20% of people who have RLE eventually develop glaucoma. However, by the time glaucoma is diagnosed, it is usually in a very advanced stage. By contrast, the risk of glaucoma is very low for people who wear glasses and contact lenses. In fact, the risk of glaucoma is only 1 in 2,000 for those who wear glasses and 1 in 5,000 for those who wear contact lenses.
- Fast Results. After your refractive lens exchange procedure, you should see an improvement in your vision within a few days.
What are the risks of refractive lens exchange?
Refractive lens exchange is a surgical procedure that removes your current contact lenses and replaces them with artificial lenses. The procedure is typically done as outpatient surgery, and the majority of patients report excellent outcomes. However, there are some potential risks associated with refractive lens exchange. Here are three to keep in mind:
- Postoperative complications: The most common postoperative complication following refractive lens exchange is discomfort, which can be caused by inflammation or discharge from the new prosthetic lenses. In most cases, these symptoms resolve within a week or two. However, if discomfort persists or worsens, contact your surgeon for advice.
- Lens implant failure: Another potential postoperative complication is lens implant failure, which occurs when the artificial lenses don’t react to light as expected. If this happens, you may experience decreased vision or even complete loss of vision. Be sure to consult with your surgeon if you experience any changes in your vision following refractive lens exchange.
- Infection: Finally, infection is a major risk following refractive lens exchange surgery and can occur in any body area where the artificial lenses are placed (including the eyes). If you experience an infection after surgery, contact your surgeon immediately for advice.
Who should undergo refractive lens exchange?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best candidate for refractive lens exchange (RLE) will vary depending on their individual circumstances. However, some general factors to consider when deciding whether or not to undergo RLE include age, number of glasses required, quality of life issues that are caused by glasses wear, and medical history.
For individuals who are over the age of 40, RLE is often a wise decision because it can help decrease the chances of future health issues related to eyeglasses wear.
RLE is also an option for those who suffer from significant quality-of-life issues caused by wearing glasses. These issues can often include difficulty reading fine print or seeing clearly at close range. In some cases, people who undergo RLE report being able to resume regular activities such as work and daily life without having to take breaks to adjust to their new vision prescription.
Finally, individuals with a history of eye health issues, such as glaucoma, should always consult with their doctor prior to undergoing RLE in order to ensure that the treatment is safe and appropriate for them.
Tips after refractive lens exchange surgery
Refractive lens exchange surgery, or LASIK, is a major procedure that can drastically improve the vision of many people. However, after LASIK surgery, there are some important things that patients need to know in order to best take care of their vision. Here are some tips on how to prepare for refractive lens exchange surgery:
- Make sure you have enough information about your surgery and what to expect. Verify all of your surgery information with your surgeon as soon as possible after your appointment. This includes your surgical date and time, your pre-surgical regimen, post-surgical instructions, and any potential side effects you may experience.
- Make sure you schedule a follow-up appointment with your surgeon as soon as possible. Discuss any questions or concerns you have about your vision following surgery. Your surgeon will also be able to review any post-operative photos or test results with you.
- Get plenty of rest following LASIK surgery. It is important to allow your eyes time to heal properly following the procedure. Avoid strenuous activity for at least seven days following surgery, and do not drive until you have had a complete recovery from the anesthetic process.
If you are unhappy with the way your eyesight is, you may want to consider a refractive lens exchange procedure. This surgery is often recommended for people who have had cataracts removed and need new lenses fitted, but who still experience significant vision problems. In a refractive lens exchange procedure, a pair of glasses or contact lenses is swapped for a set of corrective lenses that correct your vision. The surgery usually takes about an hour and can be done under local anesthesia in just one day.