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What Are the Benefits of a Refractive Lens Exchange?

Posted on July 10, 2022

Did you know that approximately 8 million people in the United States have vision impairment due to an uncorrected refractive error?

Eye disorders are common in people of all ages but the percentage of individuals who have eye issues increases with age.

Luckily, there are treatments and surgeries in place that can correct certain refractive errors. If you have nearsightedness or farsightedness, you might have heard of refractive lens exchange.

Refractive lens exchange offers a solution for multiple eye disorders and offer additional benefits in the process. Want to know more about this? Keep reading  to learn what you need to know.

How Does Refractive Lens Exchange Work?

Refractive lens exchange (RLE) treats a wide range of eye conditions. Patients over 40 who have been diagnosed with presbyopia can benefit from this procedure. It is also successful in younger patients with refractive errors.

You need to be at least 21 years of age to have RLE surgery. You must also have no history of eye disease. The treatment is best suited for people over 40.

Refractive lens exchange is sometimes compared to cataract surgery because both treatments involve taking out the problematic lens and replacing it with a clear one.

Patients need to receive an eye assessment before moving forward with the surgery.

What Is Presbyopia?

Patients past the age of 40 might deal with presbyopia. This is when the lens gets stiffer and causes some of all of the ability to focus the eyes. It leads to trouble seeing things that are up close.

People who are naturally farsighted will start to notice presbyopia sooner than those who are not farsighted. Presbyopia doesn’t cause much of a problem right away in people that are nearsighted.

What Is Hyperopia?

Refractive lens exchange surgery can also help correct hyperopia, another name for farsightedness. RLE can treat just about any degree of farsightedness.

People with this condition to see objects far away more clearly than they see objects close up. Objects that are close look blurry.

Hyperopia is caused by the natural shape of the eyeball, something that people are born with. This means that hyperopia can affect both adults and children.

What Is Myopia?

Myopia refers to shortsightedness and can cause difficulty seeing objects in a distance.

Some people might not realize that they are short-sighted because vision changes slowly. Shortsightedness is often detected in childhood and will get worse over time.

In people with shortsightedness, the cornea of the eye curves too steeply if the eyeball is too long. Light entering the eye doesn’t focus on the back of the retina but focuses on the front of the retina which makes images appear blurry.

For people with myopia, there is a risk of retinal detachment during RLE surgery.

Benefits of Refractive Lens Exchange in Austin

The obvious benefits of refractive lens exchange surgery are that the procedure can treat multiple eye conditions like presbyopia, hyperopia, and myopia.

RLE might also be right for individuals with astigmatism. This is when the eye’s cornea or lens is unevenly curved. This condition is common and treated often.

Other compelling reasons to consider RLE are:

Avoids the Need for Cataract Surgery

When a problematic lens is replaced during RLE, cataracts are unable to form.  This means that patients don’t run the risk of developing cataracts at a later date and won’t need cataract surgery in the future.

Doesn’t Cause Dry Eyes

Someone with hyperopia is likely to experience dry eye when they choose LASIK over RLE.

Refractive lens exchange doesn’t cause dry eye and won’t cause other lasting side effects.

Improves Vision

RLE can improve your vision in more ways than one. Your vision will improve with nearby objects and objects in the distance.

This is especially beneficial for people that experience nearsightedness and farsightedness. Although rare, this does occur in some individuals.

RLE Is Permanent

One of the best benefits of RLE is that it is a permanent solution unlike other procedures.

For example, the results of LASIK surgery can regress over time. Still, in some cases, LASIK surgery is a better alternative for certain patients.

Immediate Vision Improvement

The results of the procedure vary by individual but immediate vision improvements are usually noticeable once the surgery is completed.

You won’t be sedated during the process and likely won’t experience any pain but you won’t be able to drive yourself home. You can expect to resume normal activities within a week of the procedure.

Different Lens Solutions

There is not a one size fits all solution to various refractive errors. The RLE procedure involves implanting a plastic intraocular lens (IOL) in place of the natural lens.

The lens used will depend on your refractive issue. The different types of IOLs are:

  • Multifocal: Lenses with built-in bifocal correction to provide clear distance vision while also enabling clarity for objects up close
  • Monovision: Improves distance vision in the dominant eye
  • Accommodation: Lenses that move forward and backward as intraocular muscles flex

The purpose of IOLs in refractive lens exchange is to prevent the need for glasses.

Is Refractive Lens Exchange Right for You?

With all of the information about refractive lens exchange and its benefits, you can decide if the procedure is right for you.

It’s best for those over the age of 40 experiencing presbyopia but can fix refractive errors in younger people as well. The best way to learn if you should get RLE is by receiving an eye assessment.

Looking for a professional clinic that offers RLE and the benefits that come with it? Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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