Refractive Lens Exchange

Refractive Lens Exchange

Refractive lens exchange (RLE) is suitable for patients who are already in the reading glasses age group that wish to gain greater independence from glasses.

Refractive lens exchange, also called lens replacement surgery or clear lens extraction, may be a better option than LASIK, PRK or phakic IOL refractive surgery for people with presbyopia and high hyperopia (far-sightedness).

Refractive lens exchange (RLE) replaces your eye's clear natural lens with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) to correct your refractive error and achieve sharper focus, reducing your need for reading glasses or bifocals.

While lens replacement surgery technically does not have FDA approval, some eye surgeons will perform the procedure off label in certain circumstances. This is legal and sometimes is the most effective way to correct particular vision problems.

Refractive lens exchange typically is for people with presbyopia or extreme far-sightedness, for whom LASIK, PRK or phakic IOL surgery generally are not suitable. If you have both presbyopia and moderate to severe hyperopia, RLE may be the only viable option for clear vision and minimal reliance on glasses after refractive surgery.

Lens replacement surgery also can correct myopia (near-sightedness), but generally it is not recommended when LASIK, PRK or phakic IOLs are available.