Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE): Benefits, Risks & Side Effects

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE): Benefits, Risks & Side Effects

Feb 01, 2022

What is Refractive Lens Exchange(RLE)?

Refractive Lens Exchange is a type of surgery where the eye’s natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial Intraocular Lens. This surgery corrects and focuses vision. Refractive Lens Exchange is for patients who cannot go through laser refractive surgery or photorefractive keratectomy.

There is no damage to a patient’s cornea during an RLE operation. Instead of removing tissue from the cornea, a patient’s natural crystalline lens is removed and replaced with a biocompatible artificial lens, which lies behind the colored area of the eye known as the iris. The prescription for this lens will be specific to the patient’s refractive error. This technique resembles cataract surgery, which many individuals will require later in life.

How Refractive Lens Exchange Works

This surgery treats a wide range of eye conditions. Our Optometrist in Vaughan may recommend this kind of surgery to patients above forty years old and diagnosed with presbyopia and farsightedness caused by the hardening of the lens. This procedure is also successful in younger patients with refractive errors like nearsightedness and farsightedness.

Your eye doctor in Vaughan will give you a little sedative before the surgery to ensure that you are relaxed, quiet, and comfortable. Then, to numb your eye, anesthetic eye drops will be utilized. Next, the lens is accessed by a tiny aperture in the eye less than 3mm in length. The lens is then broken up and removed from the eye using an ultrasonic probe. Phacoemulsification is the name for this procedure.

A new Intraocular Lens (IOL) is put into the eye once the remnants of the clouded native lens have been removed. The IOLs are flexible and folded to fit through the teeny-tiny aperture. They unfold into place once within the eye. The IOLs cannot be removed once they are fitted in the aperture.

What Are the Benefits of Refractive Lens Exchange?

There are many benefits associated with refractive lens exchange. First, this type of surgery does not take long to recover. It does not also alter the corneal thickness, unlike laser vision correction, which can reduce its thickness leading to a condition known as keratoconus.

Another benefit associated with refractive lens exchange is that there is no need for cataract surgery in the future as this surgery prevents the formation of cataracts.

There is no risk of losing corrective effect over time, unlike laser vision correction. It is because the surgery involves the introduction of the new intraocular lens, which is durable and practical.

Refractive lens exchange also reduces the dependence on corrective eyewear. This surgery can also be an option for patients with higher refractive errors.

What Are the Risks and Side Effects of Refractive Lens Exchange?

All surgical procedures, including those utilizing RLE, include some risk. However, because refractive IOLs are placed deeper in your eye, the risks of refractive lens exchange differ from laser surgery.

With an RLE procedure, one eye is treated first. Then, the patient has to go back after a couple of weeks to have the second eye treated. It makes the procedure time-consuming and makes the healing process prolonged.

After surgery, some patients may experience minor eye discomfort, which may subside within a few days. However, when a blood artery is disrupted during surgery, it can cause the eye to appear extremely red.

Other risks of RLE are glaucoma, infection, retinal detachment, and IOL dislocation.

Is RLE Eye Surgery Right for You?

You should be at least 21 years old and have had no substantial vision changes in the previous six months to be considered for RLE. You must also be free of any previous eye problems. Patients over the age of 40 are the best candidates for the surgery. It is favored over laser surgery for severe refractive issues and people with corneal anomalies. While RLE can cure almost any degree of hyperopia (farsightedness), there is a risk of retinal detachment during surgery for those with myopia.

If you are looking for Refractive Lens Exchange consultation in Vaughan, ON, you can call or book your appointment with Dr. Allyson Tang Optometrist, eye clinic in Vaughan.

Call Now Book Now