Refractive Lens Exchange
What is Refractive Lens Exchange?
Refractive Lens Exchange is a procedure in which Dr. Richens would remove your natural lens and replace it with a Intraocular Lens Implant. This is typically for patients that are 45 years of age or older who would like to reduce their dependence on glasses or contact lenses.
The reason you may choose this procedure over iLASIK or the Visian ICL is that the lens implants you select can be multi-focal, providing better vision for distance, intermediate and near vision. There are various multi-focal lens options available and we are here to help you determine which would best fit your lifestyle.
If you are interested in Refractive Lens Exchange in St George UT, Mesquite NV and surrounding areas, contact Richens Eye Center today to schedule an appointment.
Who Is Suitable for Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)?
Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) procedures suit a wide range of patients over 45. After the age of 40, many patients begin to experience presbyopia, a form of farsightedness due to a loss of elasticity in the eye's lens. Starting in the mid-40s, almost everyone begins to experience symptoms of presbyopia.
RLE reduces or eliminates the need for glasses or contacts and corrects presbyopia, nearsightedness, or farsightedness. As a result, patients who are too nearsighted or farsighted to be good candidates for Lasik surgery often benefit from RLE instead.
RLE is also an option for patients with cataracts as part of the cataract-removal surgery.
Will I Receive Treatment for Both of My Eyes at the Same Time?
Experienced refractive surgeons, including the experts at Richens Eye Center, can treat both eyes on the same day for patients who are candidates for dual surgery. In cases where the patient isn't a candidate, your surgeon will treat the eye with the worst vision first and the other eye in a second procedure.
Most candidates only need local anesthetic drops for the procedure. However, patients who are particularly nervous about their RLE process can discuss options with our specialists during a pre-surgical consultation.
What Is the Difference Between RLE Surgery and Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery and RLE surgery are very similar procedures. In both, your surgeon will make a small incision in your cornea and remove your eye's natural lens. Then, they'll replace the natural lens with a permanent lens implant that corrects your vision.
The main difference between the surgeries is that cataract surgery is deemed medically necessary, and RLE surgery is considered elective. Patients with cataracts, which occur when the natural lens of their eye becomes cloudy with age, cannot achieve adequate vision with glasses, making surgery the only option to see well.
How Long Is the Procedure?
The RLE procedure is a quick process, with the surgical action taking only ten to fifteen minutes. Patients can expect to spend a few hours at the vision center on the day of their procedure.
In a standard RLE, your surgeon numbs your eye with anesthetic drops and then uses a device to hold the eye open and keep you from blinking during the procedure. Next, your surgeon makes a micro-incision in the cornea and breaks up the eye's natural lens to remove it. Lastly, your surgeon places the artificial lens into the eye.
RLE procedures use an incision so tiny that no sutures are necessary. The eye naturally heals itself. Post-procedure, we will fit a protective shield over your eye, and you can recover briefly at our vision center before returning home.
Will It Be Painful?
In short, no. RLE procedures are not painful. The surgery requires only micro-incisions, and the replacement lens is pliable, gently unfolding as it's placed. The entire procedure is quick, pain-free, and has minimal risks.
Some patients are particularly anxious about the procedure. If that's the case, we can take measures to alleviate any nerves before your procedure.