Refractive Lens Exchange

Refractive Lens Exchange is any eye surgery used to improve the refractive state of the eye, and decrease or eliminate a patient’s dependency on glasses or contact lenses. This is achieved by using an artificial lens which has a prescription built into it, and also is able to focus light correctly on a retina for a patient to regain perfect vision.

refractive lens exchange
Diagram of Refractive Lens Exchange

Refractive lens exchange (RLE) is a vision correction surgery, which removes an eye’s natural lens, replacing it with an artificial lens. This type of surgery has many names and often referred to as clear lens extraction, clear lens exchange, lens replacement surgery, elective cataract surgery or early cataract surgery.

Refractive Lens Exchange is also the treatment offered to many patients who are found unsuitable for Laser Eye Surgery.

At AVC, RLE is the choice of treatment offered to patients looking for a permanent vision correction treatment. Dr CT Pillai, our Medical Director, is so confident with RLE treatment that he proudly states that:

Advanced Vision Care is the only clinic in the world which can treat any complex prescription be it extreme short-sightedness, long-sightedness or astigmatism to an excellent outcome of 20:20.

Refractive lens treatment – a patient’s journey

Suitability for clear lens exchange surgery

From a clinical perspective, refractive lens exchange — also know as Clear Lens Exchange — is a viable alternative for patients with refractive errors who are not candidates for LASIK (an advanced form of Laser Eye Surgery which AVC specialises in). AVC has always offered patients both monofocal and multifocal lenses depending on their personal requirements. However, an additional acrylic multifocal lens is also now available to all patients, which has recently been approved by the FDA in the US.

We also treat people suffering from long-sightedness (hyperopia) who show any evidence of Cataracts. These individuals, even if the level of hyperopia is moderate, are candidates for Cataract Surgery rather than LASIK because these patients tend to experience problems with the tear film and reduction in visual quality with laser surgery.

Cataract surgery also can correct myopia (short-sightedness).

There are three types of intraocular lenses (IOLs) available which can replace your natural lens. Which lens is suitable for you and your eyes should be decided by your surgeon after a thorough eye test which will help determine your personal vision correction needs.

  1. Monofocal or fixed-focus IOLs: Monofocal lenses provide clear vision at distance, intermediate or near ranges — but not all three at once. Toric IOLs, which correct astigmatism, are also classified as monofocal IOLs.
  2. Multifocal IOLs: A multifocal lens provides clear vision at multiple distances.
  3. Accommodating IOLs: An accommodating IOL is a type of monofocal lens that enables focus at multiple distances by shifting its position in the eye.

Treatment process

refractive lens exchange patientRLE is a quick procedure and usually takes about fifteen minutes to complete for one eye and all cases are performed on an outpatient basis.

The surgery is performed over two days, where one eye is treated on one day and the second is treated on the following day. The procedure itself takes about fifteen minutes and patients are allowed to go home the same day. The very next day, the second eye is treated and the patient is discharged after both eyes have been treated.

During the surgery, numbing anesthetic drops are used so that any discomfort can be avoided, The effect of surgery is instant as patients regain perfect vision as soon as the natural lens with the refractive error is replaced with an artificial refractive lens.

Recovery from refractive lens exchange

Recovery time from RLE is quick. You can resume your normal day-to-day activities as soon as your eye has been treated. However, you should be ready for heavy outdoor activities within about a week.

Patients typically experience excellent results after a few weeks following treatment with few if any problems as their brains adjust to their new perfect vision.

Improvement in vision quality

Most patients will see improvement in their vision instantly on the day of their RLE. And most patients can return to work within a week of surgery, although you should wait 2 weeks to start driving again and only after your surgeon has given the go ahead that your vision has been restored to driving standard.

There is an extremely minimal chance of regression, i.e. loss of corrective effect or further deterioration in vision over time. And with RLE, your lens can be removed and another lens can be implanted to improve vision if required.

Lens replacement cannot be felt in an eye, so there is no day-to-day care for these lenses. RLE implants do not need to be washed or removed from an eye. And there is no chance of RLE implants falling from an eye because they become part of an eye like a natural lens.

Aesthetically, RLE implants are not visible to the naked eye as the lens is situated inside your eye and not on the surface like a contact lens is. And your implants are designed to last the rest of your life.

At Advanced Vision Care, we require patients to undergo a comprehensive eye test so that we can design the best vision correction treatment tailored to your personal requirements.

Interested in RLE?

If you would like to find out more about Refractive Lens Exchange at Advanced Vision Care, the pros and cons, what it might cost and what it can do for your eyesight, then why not call AVC Today on 0800 652 4878 for your FREE Telephone Consultation.

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