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R.L.E. - An Alternative to Lasik & PRK

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) is a good alternative to LASIK, epi-LASIK, LASEK, and PRK laser refractive surgeries. In many cases it can be used to treat patients who are not eligible to laser eye surgery. RLE is a surgical procedure that corrects shortsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and presbyopia (reduced ability to focus on objects in the near range of vision). The procedure is very similar to a cataract operation, in which a small incision is made and the natural lens of the eye is replaced by an artificial one.

RLE is recommended for certain groups of people. Patients who have myopia or hyperopia that is too great to be corrected through laser refractive surgery alone can benefit from RLE. Additionally patients who are disqualified from laser surgery for other reasons, such as thin corneas or dry eyes, may be able to undergo a lens exchange. Some patients are not comfortable with the idea of having a laser beam directed at their eyes. No laser is used in RLE surgery, so this would be a suitable option for such patients. The procedure is best suited to patients over the age of 50, as the surgery will completely replace the natural lens of the eye. When the natural lens is replaced by an artificial lens, the ability to focus is diminished, which also occurs naturally as the patient ages. RLE cannot correct astigmatism; however it can be combined with laser surgery to correct astigmatism.

Refractive Lens Exchange is very similar to cataract surgery. A cataract is a clouding of the natural crystalline lens of the eye, which results in greatly diminished vision. The only way to resolve a cataract is to replace the natural lens with an artificial one, thus restoring vision. Cataract surgery is one of the most common eye surgeries performed today. As such, doctors have developed careful and advanced techniques for the procedure. These same tested and reliable techniques are applied during the RLE procedure. First, the doctor will make a small incision in the side of the eye. Then using a technique called phacoemulsification, the natural lens will be broken into small pieces, liquefied, and removed from the eye. After the natural lens has been removed, the doctor will place the artificial lens in the eye. The lens will be folded for insertion, and carefully unfolded and moved into place by the doctor. The procedure is performed using a local anesthetic and is an outpatient procedure. After the procedure, patients typically recover within two to three weeks, at which point they will experience restored vision and stable focusing ability. The doctor will provide certain post-operative instructions, which are important to follow.

If you are interested in having your hyperopia or myopia corrected through the Refractive Lens Exchange procedure, you should contact an experienced and trusted eye surgeon. During your initial consultation, your doctor will be able to tell you if you would be a good candidate for RLE. If you decide to proceed, your doctor will take biometric measurements of your eye to determine the necessary optical power of your implants. Horizon Eye Specialists and LASIK Center offers Refractive Lens Exchange to its patients. We encourage you to call us today to learn more about the procedure and find out if you are eligible to receive Refractive Lens Exchange.

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