Skip to main content

Franklin - Local Town Pages

Over 40 and Tired of Wearing Reading Glasses? Refractive Lens Exchange May Be for You

By: Roger M. Kaldawy, M.D.
Milford Franklin Eye Center
Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) stands as a transformative solution for those grappling with vision impairments and hate wearing glasses. This intricate surgical procedure replaces the natural lens of the eye with an artificial one, offering a path to clearer sight and reduced dependence on corrective lenses. In this article, we delve into the depths of RLE, exploring its intricacies, indications, benefits, potential risks, and alternative options.
Understanding Refractive Lens Exchange
RLE, often referred to as lens replacement surgery, is primarily utilized to rectify refractive errors such as severe nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Moreover, it effectively addresses age-related vision issues like presbyopia, which typically affects individuals over 40. Unlike LASIK or PRK, which reshape the cornea, RLE involves substituting the eye’s natural lens with an artificial one, often termed an intraocular lens (IOL).
Indications for Refractive Lens Exchange 
The ideal candidates for RLE are individuals experiencing progressive vision deterioration due to refractive errors or age-related changes in the lens. Candidates typically exhibit:
Significant refractive errors, including severe nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.
Age-related vision issues, particularly presbyopia, resulting in difficulty focusing on close objects.
Ineligibility for LASIK or PRK due to factors like thin corneas, high refractive errors, or unstable vision.
Desire for decreased dependence on glasses or contact lenses for clear vision.
Best Candidates for RLE 
The most suitable candidates for RLE often meet the following criteria:
Age: Candidates are typically over 40 years old, experiencing age-related changes in vision.
Stable Prescription: Their refractive error should have stabilized, ensuring accurate preoperative measurements.
Good Eye Health: Candidates should have healthy eyes without conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, or severe dry eye syndrome.
Realistic Expectations: They should possess a clear understanding of the procedure’s goals, benefits, and potential risks.
Benefits of Refractive Lens Exchange
RLE offers a plethora of benefits, making it an attractive option for those seeking vision correction:

Permanent Vision Improvement: RLE provides long-lasting vision correction, potentially eliminating the need for glasses or contact lenses.
Enhanced Visual Quality: The use of premium IOLs can enhance contrast sensitivity and reduce glare, improving overall visual quality.
Addressing Age-related Vision Issues: RLE effectively treats presbyopia, allowing individuals to regain near and distance vision without relying on bifocals or reading glasses.
Predictable Outcomes: With advanced preoperative testing and surgical techniques, RLE offers predictable and precise results.
Lifestyle Enhancement: Improved vision can enhance daily activities such as driving, reading, and participating in sports or hobbies.
No future cataract:  Since RLE involves removing and replacing the natural lens, there will never be a cataract in your future because the lens that can cause a cataract and require cataract surgery  will be removed.
Risks Associated with Refractive Lens Exchange
While RLE is generally safe and effective, there are potential risks and complications to consider:
Infection: As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of infection, although it is rare with RLE.
Glaucoma: Some individuals may develop increased intraocular pressure following surgery, potentially leading to glaucoma.
Retinal Detachment: In rare cases, RLE may increase the risk of retinal detachment, particularly in individuals predisposed to the condition.
Posterior Capsule Opacification: This common complication involves clouding of the capsule behind the IOL, which can be treated with a simple laser procedure.
Refractive Error: While precise measurements are taken preoperatively, there is a possibility of residual refractive error necessitating additional procedures or corrective lenses.
Alternatives to Refractive Lens Exchange
While RLE offers significant advantages, alternative options may be considered based on individual preferences and circumstances:
LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis): LASIK reshapes the cornea using a laser to correct refractive errors, making it suitable for individuals with relatively stable vision and healthy corneas. LASIK does not correct reading vision after 40.
PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy): PRK involves removing the corneal epithelium and reshaping the cornea to correct refractive errors, making it an option for individuals with thin corneas or irregular corneal surfaces. PRK does not correct reading vision after 40.
Implantable Contact Lenses (ICLs): ICLs are surgically implanted lenses that work with the eye’s natural lens to correct refractive errors, offering a reversible alternative to RLE for younger individuals. ICLs will not correct reading vision after 40.
Monovision: This approach corrects one eye for distance vision and the other for near vision, providing an alternative for individuals with presbyopia who prefer to maintain some degree of natural vision. Monovision can cause a loss of depth perception.  Your brain may or may not get used to monovision.
Refractive Lens Exchange emerges as a revolutionary solution for individuals seeking lasting vision correction. By replacing the eye’s natural lens with an artificial one, RLE offers a path to clearer vision and reduced dependence on corrective lenses. It is amazing to be able to reduce dependency on glasses, both for distance and near. While it presents numerous benefits, candidates should carefully consider the potential risks and alternatives before undergoing surgery. With advancements in surgical techniques and intraocular lens technology, RLE continues to redefine the landscape of vision correction, providing hope and clarity to countless individuals worldwide.
RLE is all about better precision, freedom from glasses for far and near and excellent outcomes. At Milford Franklin Eye Center, our surgeons have performed tens of thousands of intraocular surgeries and are happy to offer the RLE procedure to our communities. We implant high quality premium lenses, with correction for distance, near and everything in between.  Our percentage of posterior capsule complications and infections is one of the lowest in the US and is measured by independent sources. 100% of the surgeries are performed under topical anesthesia, so only drops, no need for shots and their risks and no need for stitches. Our surgery center is state-of-the-art and staffed by anesthesia full time.  We treat our patients like family and ethically:  we do not charge you fees for using our OR as another practice in Milford is doing. Our surgeries are performed in a certified and accredited surgery center, not in an office.  World class outcomes closer to home. 
For more details, see our ad on page 12.

Sponsored articles are submitted by our advertisers. The advertiser is solely responsible for the content of this article.