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Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) is also referred to as Clear Lens Exchange. As a part of the normal aging process, the lens in the eye becomes increasingly rigid leading to the need for reading glasses or bifocals in the 40s (presbyopia) and eventually cataract surgery for everyone. More and more people enjoy active lifestyles, and they do not want to put up with glasses and contact lenses or the gradual deterioration in their vision over many years. So they are choosing to have their natural lenses replaced (“exchanged”) with intraocular lens (IOL) implants at an earlier age. Refractive Lens Exchange is a procedure in which the pre-cataract, natural lens of the eye is replaced with an IOL to provide the best possible vision. (RLE is like Refractive Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery (ReLACS), except in ReLACS the natural lens has already developed a cataract.) RLE can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia. Since the natural lens of the eye is replaced in RLE, patients will never develop cataracts.

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The best premium intraocular lens implant for you will depend on your vision and eye conditions. These include toric lenses for myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism; multifocal lenses for a wide range of clear vision, near, intermediate, and distance; and aspheric lenses to correct aberrations in the spherical shape of the eye. After a comprehensive eye exam and diagnostic testing, Dr. Herschel will discuss with you which premium IOL will best meet your vision correction needs. Learn more about premium IOLs.

Who is a Candidate for Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)?

  • Adults or Older Adults with the following vision conditions:
    • Nearsightedness
    • Astigmatism
    • Presbyopia
    • Farsightedness
    • Early cataract formation
    • Difficulty seeing at night
  • People in their 40s who are not candidates for LASIK/PRK
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