Refractive Lens Exchange
What is Refractive Lens Exchange?
Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) and cataract surgery are exactly the same operation. When cataract surgery is performed primarily to correct the need for glasses, it is called refractive lens exchange (RLE). Lens clarity and flexibility diminish with age, and many older patients who would like their sight corrected actually have the beginnings of a cataract. Replacing the natural lens is often therefore the best option for sight correction, even for patients with a lower spectacle prescription.
In older patients who have a spectacle prescription that is out of range for laser eye surgery (myopia > -10.00 D; hypermetropia > +4.00 D), or those with severe dry eyes or thin corneas where laser surgery is not recommended, refractive lens exchange is the best option. Almost any level of long or short sight or astigmatism can be corrected with refractive lens exchange.
Why is Refractive Lens Exchange preferable to ICL in older patients?
Loss of the ability to focus the natural lens for reading in older patients (presbyopia), and the increased likelihood of cataract developing in the near future, means that refractive lens exchange is preferred for older patients in the reading glasses age group, rather than ICL implantation.
What happens during refractive lens exchange (RLE)?
Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) and cataract surgery are exactly the same operation. Surgery is performed via a keyhole incision, where the natural lens is removed using a high frequency ultrasound by a process called phacoemulsification, and a flexible artificial lens implant is inserted to sit within the natural lens capsule.
When Femtosecond Laser is used to carry out RLE this gives unprecedented precision and accuracy to cataract surgery, making it safer and more predictable, and tailored to each individual eye shape.
Combined with sophisticated multifocal lens implants, patients can look forward to the best possible vision after cataract removal or RLE surgery.
RLE/ cataract surgery is carried out under local anaestheticand you can go home after surgery. Recovery is quick, aftercare is simple, and there are few restrictions on activity after surgery. You can normally return to work within a few days. Surgery is normally performed on one eye at a time, with the two operations typically 1 or 2 weeks apart.
What are the risks of RLE surgery?
RLE is very safe, but not risk free. In round numbers, approximately 1 in 2000 patients could potentially have a problem leading to permanent visual loss in the affected eye. 1 in 100 patients could potentially require a revision operation but still get a good final result, and 1 in 10 people require a minor laser procedure at some stage, either to fine-tune the focus or a common one-off procedure called YAG laser capsulotomy in which a specialized laser is used to cut through the lens capsule if it mists over behind the new lens.
Over 90% of people whose eyes are otherwise healthy are able to see at the driving standard or better without spectacles after cataract surgery, and low risk laser procedures can normally be used to fine-tune the result if required. A variety of multifocal lens implant options are available to correct near range vision, for patients who would like greater spectacle freedom.
Why Choose Valerie Saw for your Refractive Lens Exchange Surgery?
Valerie is an outstanding surgeon who has carried out thousands of refractive lens exchange operations. With impressive attention to detail and consistently world class results, she has a reputation for excellence and innovation in eye surgery. Continuity of care is paramount to Miss Saw and you will see her at each and every visit. Her aim is to give patients the best possible vision, no matter how complex or unusual their condition.
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