Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) is also known as clear lens extraction (CLE) or clear lens exchange (CLE). RLE is an eye procedure to remove the natural lens of the eye and replace it with an artificial lens to correct refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, or presbyopia (inability to read or see up close). Many individuals look at this procedure as alternative to laser vision correction and other vision correction procedures such as corneal implants or inlays. The refractive lens exchange procedure is essentially the same surgical procedure as cataract surgery. Cataract surgery is performed on millions of people every year and has been around for over 40 years.
Am I a candidate for Refractive Lens Exchange?
The procedure is most commonly designed for middle-aged or pre-cataract individuals with a refractive error or focusing issues. Younger people with high refractive errors may also be candidates. The natural lens of the eye is replaced with an artificial lens which can be a mono-focal lens (allowing clearer distance vision), a Toric lens (addressing both distance vision and astigmatism), a multi-focal, an extended depth of focus lens, or an accommodating lens (addressing intermediate, near, and distance vision). Interested individuals should be at least 30 years of age, have a strong desire to be less dependent on glasses or contact lenses and have no significant eye disease.
What are my alternatives to RLE?
Glasses and / or contact lenses have been the most common method of correcting refractive errors. Laser vision correction procedures, such as LASIK and PRK, are alternatives as well. At times, RLE may be the better option for candidates looking for less dependence on their glasses / contacts lenses. Dr. Jani will discuss the best treatment option for you when are in for consultation.
How is the procedure performed?
The procedure is usually performed in an outpatient surgical facility under topical (drops) anesthesia with light IV sedation. The procedure may take up to 15 minutes, is relatively painless, and with quick visual recovery. Most patients can return to driving, reading, and work within a day.
How much does Refractive Lens Exchange Cost?
The procedure usually costs more than LASIK, PRK, or other laser vision correction procedures. Your medical or vision insurance typically does not cover any of the cost. You can help lower your surgical fees for refractive lens exchange by setting up a Health Savings Account (HSA) or contributing to a flexible health benefits program at work such as a FSA. Vista eye specialists also offers financing programs that will allow you to pay for your procedure over time at attractive interest rates or interest-free financing over a limited time period.
If you would like to learn more about financial options or details about the procedures we offer, schedule a consultation today with our eye experts in Fredericksburg and Culpeper.