What is RLE and is it right for me?
What is Refractive Lens Exchange Surgery (RLE)?
Refractive Lens Exchange, or RLE, is a vision correction surgery that replaces your natural lens with a new artificial lens. RLE surgery is both an alternative to LASIK surgery and a close relative to Cataract surgery.
Refractive Lens Exchange surgery has many similarities to cataract surgery. Like in cataract surgery, the natural crystalline lens is removed and replaced with an Intraocular lens implant, or IOL. The main difference is that the natural crystalline lens that is removed has not developed or has not fully developed cataracts.
The lOL or intraocular lens that replaces the natural lens has special technology to correct vision. Because the lens plays such a big role in RLE surgery, you may also hear it referred to as lens replacement surgery. The lenses used are able to correct distance, near and intermediate vision to reduce and sometimes eliminate your dependence on glasses. Advanced technology lenses have also been developed to allow for improved vision at multiple distances. These lenses are known as multifocal lenses, and can even be used to correct eye conditions like astigmatism.
RLE Surgery in Tucson
Our ophthalmologists in Tucson are some of the most experienced in Southern Arizona. Barnet Dulaney Perkins Eye Center has also been voted the #1 Eye Care Center by Ranking Arizona for eight years in a row.
Refractive Lens Exchange surgery is an outpatient procedure and takes only about 10-15 minutes per eye. RLE recovery takes about 2-7 days to return to normal activities and about 6-12 weeks for your eyes to completely adjust. You will need to arrange for someone to drive you home after your procedure at our Tucson vision center. Patients will also receive a thorough post-operative appointment. If you have questions about the procedure or recovery, our team is always happy to help.
Our Southern Arizona patients tell us that RLE surgery greatly improves their quality of life and allows them to do all of the things they love without having to worry about glasses and contacts.
Refractive Lens Exchange surgery comes with many benefits and people often decide to choose RLE because of their age and lifestyle. Understanding if RLE Surgery is the right option for you will require a consultation at our Tucson vision center with our surgeons about your vision needs and desired results after surgery.
- Age: For those that are past the recommended age for LASIK surgery but have not started to develop cataracts, RLE is an alternative that allows you to get vision correction that will last a lifetime. Most people don’t develop cataracts until later in life, making RLE a way to obtain vision correction before developing mature cataracts and eliminating the need to have cataract surgery.
- Minimizing Dependency on Glasses: As we age, our eyes begin to change. Many people notice that they need to begin using reading glasses, which is often known as presbyopia. Presbyopia cannot be corrected by traditional LASIK surgery. The advanced technology IOLs available for lens replacement surgery offer both distance and near vision correction to reduce the need for glasses. These are the same lenses that are available to you during cataract surgery.
- Catering to your Lifestyle: Many of our patients are active and find that glasses and contacts get in the way of their daily activities. RLE surgery allows you to enjoy the Southern Arizona landscape or even cruise through their Tucson neighborhood at night.
- You Won’t Develop Cataracts: Because Refractive Lens Exchange Surgery removes the natural lens where a cataract forms, you will have no possibility of developing cataracts later in life.
Hear from our real RLE patients.
Get first-hand accounts from our real RLE patients across the state of Arizona as they talk about the procedure and their experience with us at Barnet Dulaney Perkins Eye Center.