About Refractive Lens Exchange
Refractive lens exchange (RLE), otherwise known as clear lens exchange, is a vision correction surgery that involves the removal of the eye's natural lens and replacement of the lens with an IOL (intraocular lens) implant. The surgery is highly effective for patients with a any degree of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and/or astigmatism, along with presbyopia (difficulty with near or reading vision). The surgical process is similar to the removal of a cataract, but is done for pure refractive surgery or vision correction desire, versus being medically necessary. This is best for patients who are over the age of 50, have not developed a cataract or have minimal cataract development, yet desire clearer vision and are seeking to gain independence from glasses or contacts for distance and near. Board-certified and fellowship trained ophthalmologist Dr. Alison R. Tendler of ART Vision is proud to offer RLE to patients of Sioux Falls, SD. Following a consultation, if it is found that RLE is the best vision correction surgery for your lifestyle, your surgery will take place in our high-end, boutique style, state-of-the-art vision center.
RLE can be a wonderful option for the right patient. You should have healthy eyes, optimally be over the age of 50, and also be experiencing presbyopia. Even if you are an ideal laser vision correction candidate (LASIK or PRK), due to your age and the continued aging changes of the natural lens, RLE can be a long term option for refractive surgery worth considering. Because the natural lens is removed and replaced, you will also never develop a medical cataract. Candidates are generally able to see well at nearly all distances (distance and near) afterward and have a drastically reduced or possibly eliminated need for eyeglasses. The most impressive benefit of the procedure is its ability to correct multiple types of refractive errors, including nearsightedness and farsightedness, as well as astigmatism. RLE is also an ideal option for patients with age-related vision loss, known as presbyopia. It can offer a better option for patients to obtain desired glasses reduction for both distance and near, versus having to choose one or the other, as can happen with traditional laser vision correction.
During RLE, your natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens, or IOL, in order to correct your unique refractive error. The brand or type of IOL that will be used will be chosen before your surgery depending upon your lifestyle goals. Many times, if appropriate, we utilize a multifocal lens to help patients achieve the crispest and clearest vision at all distances. Before beginning your procedure, Dr. Tendler will numb your eye and administer anesthesia . When you are comfortable and relaxed, Dr. Tendler will create a microscopic incision in the cornea, allowing her to remove the natural lens and then insert the the new artificial lens into the same exact place as the original one. Surgery is only performed on one eye at a time. Should you choose to undergo RLE on both eyes, as most patients do, your procedures will be planned on separate days, 1 day to 1 week apart.. The procedure is quite quick, taking approximately 15 minutes per eye. The incision created in the cornea is so small that it does not require sutures. Your eye will heal on its own over the course of a few days following the procedure. Many patients enjoy better vision immediately following surgery, with stabilization occurring over the next several weeks.
What to Expect
Following surgery, you may feel slight discomfort, such a mild stinging. Vision can also be hazy. Vision improves quickly over the next few days. Post-operative instructions will be provided by a member of the ART Vision team, and prescription medications will be used to help prevent infection and reduce inflammation. You may experience temporary bouts of dry eye and blurred vision immediately following surgery, along with halos and glare. These symptoms are normal and will dissipate over time. It is important that you attend each scheduled follow-up visit so Dr. Tendler can monitor your healing and provide guidance as you work together to achieve your best vision.
Contact us for clearer vision
Refractive lens exchange is an outstanding option for those who desire improved vision and whom are evaluating laser vision correction procedures. RLE reduces, and in some cases eliminates, the need for glasses or contact lenses, providing the freedom you desire, while eliminating the chance of developing cataracts. To schedule your consultation at ART Vision with Dr. Alison Tendler, contact our Sioux Falls, SD facility at your earliest convenience to find out how we can help you See the World Better and See Yourself Better.