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The refractive lens exchange (RLE) procedure, also known as laser-assisted cataract surgery or clear lens extraction, is an increasingly popular alternative to traditional LASIK for treating nearsightedness and farsightedness. The term RLE refers to a surgical procedure in which the existing eye's natural crystalline lens – usually clouded by age-related cataracts – is replaced with a manufactured artificial intraocular lens (IOL). This IOL corrects the vision of the patient so that glasses or contact lenses may no longer be needed.
The RLE procedure begins when the surgeon administers local anesthesia to numb the eye and make it comfortable during the replacement of the lens. A small incision is made in the eye and a tiny instrument called a phacoemulsifier emits ultrasound waves to break up the natural lens into small pieces so that it can be removed. A manufactured acrylic IOL is then inserted into the eye, replacing the original lens. The size of this new lens will depend on your particular vision prescription.
Once the procedure is complete, patients may experience some side effects such as discomfort, mild inflammation, or blurred vision that should subside within a few days. After recovery from RLE surgery, most people have improved visual acuity without needing glasses or contact lenses for activities like reading and driving. Although there are some risks associated with any type of surgical procedure, RLE has been proven to be safe and effective for many patients.
RLE is an excellent option for those who want to reduce or eliminate their dependence on corrective lenses and achieve better vision without undergoing traditional LASIK surgery. If you are interested in this procedure, it's important to talk to your eye doctor about the benefits and risks before making a decision. With proper care and management, the results of refractive lens exchange can be long-lasting, allowing you to enjoy clear vision again.
By taking the time to learn more about refractive lens exchange (RLE) or laser-assisted cataract surgery, you can make an informed decision when considering treatment options for correcting nearsightedness and farsightedness. Talk with your ophthalmologist about how this procedure could be the right choice for you. With the help of your doctor, you can achieve clear vision without glasses or contact lenses and enjoy all of life’s visual experiences to the fullest.
Refractive lens exchange (RLE) is a safe and effective vision correction procedure that has been used for more than two decades. It can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism by replacing the eye's natural lens with an artificial one. RLE is typically recommended for individuals between 45 and 55 years old who are not good candidates for LASIK or PRK due to their high levels of refractive error or thin corneas.
RLE’s success rate is very high — many studies have shown that up to 98 percent of patients achieve 20/20 vision after the procedure. Additionally, 91 percent of patients were able to reduce their need for corrective eyeglasses or contacts altogether.
Although RLE’s success rate is generally high, it is important to note that the rate of complications with this procedure is higher than other vision correction procedures, such as LASIK and PRK. For example, some patients have experienced glare or halos around lights at night after their surgery. Additionally, other potential complications include infection, inflammation, swelling in the cornea, retinal detachment, and cataracts. As a result of these risks, it is essential that patients discuss their options with their doctor before undergoing any type of vision correction procedure.
In comparison to traditional RLE surgery, laser-assisted refractive lens exchange (LARLE) has an even higher success rate — up to 99 percent of patients achieve 20/20 vision or better. LARLE is a less invasive option that uses lasers to perform the same steps as traditional RLE surgery, but with greater precision and accuracy. Because of this, fewer potential complications are associated with LARLE than with traditional RLE surgery.
Overall, both refractive lens exchange (RLE) and laser-assisted RLE (LARLE) are safe and effective procedures for correcting refractive errors in the eye. While they both have high success rates, it is important to discuss all options with your doctor before undergoing any type of vision correction procedure. Additionally, since there are risks associated with these procedures, it is important to keep an open dialogue with your doctor so you can be aware of any potential complications. Both RLE and LARLE are excellent options for those who want to improve their vision without the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses. Contact UELC to discuss whether RLE surgery is right for you.