Clear Lens Extraction / Refractive Lens Exchange
Clear Lens Extraction (also known as Refractive Lens Exchange) is a surgery that is typically offered to patients with high levels of refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism) who are not good candidates and are looking for other options besides LASIK or PRK. This LASIK alternative is also an excellent option for patients over the age of 50, as it can improve both distance and near vision, depending on the type of lens implant that is utilized to correct vision.
Is Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) an alternative to LASIK?
Someone who is a good candidate for RLE is usually someone who is looking for a LASIK eye surgery alternative. Unlike LASIK, which re-works the natural material of the eye, RLE completely replaces the natural lens with an artificial intraocular lens. This is essentially the same procedure one would go through for cataract surgery, and the end result is very similar to LASIK both in quality of vision and recovery time.
What is the Difference Between Refractive Lens Exchange and Cataract Surgery?
Clear lens extraction is very similar to cataract surgery. The only difference is that RLE is a preventative procedure performed to decrease the need for glasses; whereas removing the cataract in Cataract surgery is performed for medical reasons (if adequate vision cannot be achieved with glasses). It is typically performed on patients between the ages of 40-65, prior to the development of cataracts. It can correct all types of refractive error, including nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), astigmatism, and presbyopia (the inability to see up close around the age of 40). It is an excellent option to reduce or eliminate dependence on glasses for many patients, especially those who need a LASIK alternative. Additionally, once performed, the patient will never develop a cataract at an older age.