Featured,Refractive Lens Exchange

Smiling man

Want to improve your vision? There is more than one option for vision correction procedures. 

When most people think of vision correction procedures, they think of LASIK. But LASIK is only one of several procedures that can correct refractive errors and eliminate the need for glasses and contact lenses. 

But the problem with many of these vision correction procedures, LASIK included, is that they can’t correct age-related vision loss and refractive errors. Many people 40 and older struggle with age-related farsightedness or presbyopia. 

Presbyopia occurs because the eye’s lens loses flexibility due to aging. As a result, it becomes more challenging to see things up close. 

Refractive laser eye procedures like LASIK don’t correct presbyopia. However, there is one vision correction surgery that can correct refractive errors and presbyopia: refractive lens exchange (RLE).

Could RLE be right for you? Keep reading to learn more about refractive lens exchange, how it corrects your vision, and if you could be a good candidate for the vision correction procedure!

Refractive Lens Exchange

Refractive lens exchange (RLE) is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure. The goal of the procedure is to remove your eye’s natural lens. 

Your natural lens becomes less flexible as you age, making it harder to focus. This is what causes presbyopia. 

Refractive lens exchange removes your natural lens and replaces it with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens, or IOL. There are several different kinds of IOLs to choose from when you get RLE, but most will correct presbyopia by helping you see better up close. 

Some can also help you see better at multiple distances, reducing and even eliminating the need for other visual aids.

RLE vs. Cataract Surgery

RLE is an almost identical procedure to what’s used to treat cataracts. Cataract surgery also removes the natural lens and replaces it with an IOL. 

However, the difference is that cataract surgery is performed to remove the cataract that’s formed on the natural lens. You don’t need to have cataracts to have RLE. 

One advantage of the procedure is patients undergoing it can have crisp, clear vision and still enjoy the benefits of cataract-free vision in the future. If you have RLE, you never have to worry about getting cataracts. 

Cataracts can only form on a natural lens. They don’t develop on IOLs, which are made from synthetic materials. 

If you’re over 40, you’re at an increased risk for cataracts. Getting RLE is an excellent way to improve your vision and ensure you never have to worry about cataracts!

RLE Candidates

So, is RLE suitable for you? The procedure is best for adults over 40 with presbyopia who want to reduce or eliminate the need for visual aids, especially reading glasses. 

If that sounds like you and you’re in good health with no medical issues or other eye conditions that could interfere with surgery, you should make a great candidate for RLE!

RLE is also a good alternative for patients with a refractive error who want the visual freedom that LASIK offers but struggle with presbyopia. RLE can correct your refractive error and presbyopia simultaneously. 

The key is to choose the right kind of IOL. To get the most out of RLE, you need a premium IOL.  

Getting the Most out of RLE

There are different kinds of IOLs. There’s only one kind of intraocular lens that’s considered “standard” and is included in the price of cataract surgery, and that’s a monofocal lens. 

Monofocal IOLs can help you see at one distance. If you get them to help you see up close, you’ll still need glasses to see far away and vice versa. 

Some patients choose monovision, which involves having one lens in your eye to help you see up close and another in the other eye to help you see things at a distance. Monovision allows you to see well enough between those two distances. 

However, monovision doesn’t work for everyone and doesn’t give you the greatest range of vision. Premium IOLs are designed to provide you with the best vision and the most extensive visual range. 

When you get a premium IOL, there is an out-of-pocket cost. But you’ll get more out of a refractive lens exchange procedure, with most patients agreeing it’s worth it. 

Premium IOL packages also usually include an upgraded form of surgery that uses a programmed laser to make more precise incisions to place the IOL properly.

At Sweeney Eye Associates, we have three premium IOL options:

Vivity IOL

The Vivity IOL is the only non-diffractive extended depth of focus lens. It’s divided into sections that switch between two refractive powers: one for seeing up close and one for seeing far away. 

Your eye automatically looks through the part of the lens to see whatever you’re looking at. Unlike other multifocals, the Vivity is non-diffractive. This means that light doesn’t split across the lens. Instead, it bends, causing fewer visual aberrations and clearer vision.

PanOptix Trifocal IOL

The PanOptix is a trifocal IOL. Unlike a multifocal, the lens sections alternate between three refractive powers: one for seeing up close, one for far away, and one for an intermediate distance. 

This gives patients a vaster range of vision so they can see very well up close and at a middle distance.

Light Adjustable Lens

The Light Adjustable Lens is unique because it’s the only IOL tailored to your post-surgical vision. It’s implanted in your eye the same way as any other IOL. 

After recovering, you’ll start light treatments with a light delivery device that emits UV light to change the shape of the lens to adjust it, customizing it to correct your presbyopia and your precise refractive error.

It’s hard to go wrong with any of these premium IOLs. But choosing what kind of IOL to get can still be hard. Luckily, your surgeon can advise you and help you pick the best option for your specific needs and goals for refractive lens exchange.

Think RLE might be for you? Schedule your consultation today at Sweeney Eye Associates in Richardson, TX, to learn more!