Refractive lens exchange

Similar to cataract surgery, refractive lens exchange (RLE) is also known as clear lens exchange. The natural crystalline lens is replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) of a desired power to correct the refractive error.

Generally more suitable for middle aged to older patients and for those having early cataract, RLE may be a better option than laser vision correction or implantable contact lens especially for individuals with presbyopia or high hyperopia.

IOL comes in monofocal, toric or multifocal options to cater for different vision needs.

Intraocular Lens (IOL) Types

As in cataract surgery, the intraocular lenses available for RLE falls under the following classifications:

  • Monofocal lens: This will only fix issues in one segment of your visual range (usually distance vision) and are used for patients who do not mind continuing to use glasses for specific tasks such as reading.
  • Multifocal lens: This can correct short-sightedness and presbyopia at the same time and therefore eliminate the need for glasses altogether.

Note that both monofocal and multifocal lenses can correct moderate to high corneal astigmatism if they incorporate toric lens design; having different powers in different meridians of the lens.

The Procedure

  • Small incisions are made at the edge of the cornea.
  • The crystalline lens is then broken into small pieces and removed with an ultrasound process called phacoemulsification.
  • The IOL is inserted into the eye into the same space formerly occupied by the crystalline lens.

The IOL is a permanent replacement for your natural lens and is designed to last the rest of your life.

refractive surgery