Refractive Lens Exchange

Do you hold menus and books at an arm’s length just to see the text? If so, you might suffer from extreme hyperopia (farsightedness) or presbyopia (the age-related need for reading glasses due to the gradual hardening and thickening of the eye lens).

Although these visual problems may be bothersome, the good news is that there are effective treatment options to restore your close vision. For patients with severe hyperopia, presbyopia or for patients over the age of 55, Edmonton laser eye surgeon Dr. Joseph Leong-Sit of Eye Q Premium Laser may recommend refractive lens exchange, or RLE, instead of laser vision correction.

Who Might Benefit From RLE

If you have extreme difficulty seeing up close, RLE might be a more appropriate treatment option than laser vision correction surgery (LASIK), PRK or other vision correction procedures. Also called clear lens extraction or lens replacement surgery, RLE can also be used to correct myopia (nearsightedness), but Dr. Leong-Sit and his team do not usually recommend it for patients who are suitable candidates for laser vision correction surgery or PRK.

What RLE Entails

The RLE procedure generally takes about 15 minutes per eye. It is performed on an outpatient basis, under topical anesthesia.

The RLE procedure is nearly identical to cataract removal surgery. The eye surgeon makes an incision in the cornea, gently breaks up the natural lens into fragments and suctions the pieces from the eye. Your Edmonton refractive surgeon then replaces your eye’s clear crystalline natural lens with an intraocular lens implant (IOL). The IOL restores clear vision after surgery. The procedure can greatly reduce your need for reading glasses and may eliminate your dependence on them altogether.

What to Expect After RLE

It can take up to several weeks for you to notice the final visual results of RLE. As your eyes heal, you may feel a “scratchy” sensation in the eyes. You may also notice blurred vision, glare, halos or other visual disturbances during this time.

You should be able to go back to work or resume your normal activities about a week after your procedure. Your eye surgeon will let you know when you can return to your usual schedule.

Once your eyes are healed, you should not feel the IOL, in the same way that you should not notice a dental filling. The IOL is a permanent device that should last your lifetime.

Find out More About RLE

If you have been diagnosed with severe myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia or a combination of the three, or if you have been told that you are not a suitable candidate for laser vision correction surgery or PRK, you might benefit from RLE treatment.

To schedule a complimentary assessment with an Eye Q optometrist to learn more about refractive lens exchange and determine whether RLE is right for you, contact Eye Q Premium Laser by calling 780-429-2015 today.