Refractive Lens Exchange

As you age, the lenses in your eyes begin to lose flexibility. This is a condition called presbyopia that usually happens in your forties or early fifties.

Refractive lens exchange (RLE) is an excellent option for people with presbyopia. Consider RLE If you are too old for LASIK, too young for cataract surgery but no longer want to wear glasses. At New England Eye Center, our doctors deliver a patient-focused standard of care.

What is RLE?

RLE is a presbyopia-correcting medical procedure. When your lenses lose flexibility, they can’t elongate, making it difficult to see things up close.

Presbyopia can become so disruptive that you need reading glasses for up-close sight. Otherwise, you have to hold things far away from your face to see them.

Will You Need Reading Glasses For The Rest of Your Life?

You do not have to succumb to age-related vision loss. RLE treats presbyopia by replacing your natural lens with an intraocular lens or IOL.

IOLs can provide clear vision for the rest of your life. In some cases, they can give you the best eyesight you’ve ever experienced!

There are many IOLs to choose from. They fall into two main types: monofocal IOLs, and premium IOLs. Monofocal IOLs provide clear vision at one distance or focal point.

People who select a monofocal IOL typically elect to correct their distance vision. This is suitable for driving or attending a concert.

The drawback to a monofocal IOL is they only correct vision at one focal point. You will still need a visual aid if you want to see at the other distances.

If you correct distance vision, you will still need reading glasses. The opposite is true as well. You can fix your up-close vision, but you will need glasses or contacts for distance vision.

Premium IOLs solve this issue. They correct vision at multiple distances, so you will not need any visual aids.

There are a lot of premium IOLs, and new lenses are constantly coming to market. Your eye doctor will help you select the best premium IOL for your lifestyle.

Can RLE Correct Astigmatism?

You can correct your astigmatism during RLE if the IOL you choose has a toric model. Toric lenses are custom lenses designed to correct astigmatism.

How Does RLE Work?

RLE is similar to cataract surgery. Both replace your natural lens with an IOL.

If you are getting RLE, your natural lens is still clear, and cataracts do not affect your vision yet. RLE will ensure you don’t need cataract surgery because cataracts don’t form on artificial lenses.

During RLE, your surgeon makes a small incision in your cornea. Your cornea blocks the lens in your eye, so they have to get through it to replace the lens.

Once they can access your lens, they perform a process called phacoemulsification. Phacoemulsification breaks your natural lens into tiny pieces.

This makes it easier to remove the lens from your eye. Once it is out, your surgeon will put the IOL in its place.

The final step is to seal your cornea and send you home to rest for the remainder of the day. Be sure only to perform activities that don’t strain your eyes when you have RLE.

This means avoiding watching TV or reading a book for the first day. You will be able to return to normal about a week after your procedure.

Schedule an appointment with New England Eye Center in Boston, MA, to determine if RLE could end your need for glasses.

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