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When to Consider Lasik or RLE (Refractive Lens Exchange) Treatments

Posted on April 26, 2022
A woman having trouble seeing her laptop screen.

Having sharp eyesight is often something we take for granted – until it starts to decline. There can be several factors that impact our sight. But as we age, we will all find that our sight changes and deteriorates.

iLasik and Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) are two excellent surgical options for improving our eyesight. But what do they entail? And who is a good candidate for each?

Let’s learn more together about when to consider iLasik or RLE treatments.

What Is iLasik?

The terms laser eye surgery and Lasik have been around for a while now. Many of us probably have a general idea of how they work. The goal is to give you the best possible sight through a surgical procedure that reshapes the cornea.

What’s the Difference Between Lasik and iLasik?

iLasik and Lasik surgery get the same results. However, iLasik uses more advanced technology to create the flap in the cornea. By using lasers to do this rather than a blade, it is more safe and precise.

In this article, we use the two terms interchangeably. At Eye Lasik Austin, we use advanced iLasik surgery to improve our clients’ vision.

What Conditions Can iLasik Treat?

In our eyes, the cornea is vital for refracting, or bending, light correctly onto the retina. When all is working well, we see clear, sharp images both up close and far away.

However, many of us suffer from myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), or astigmatism. It’s also common to have astigmatism with either of these two issues. The result is that the cornea does not refract the light correctly, resulting in blurred vision.

Most of us correct this daily using glasses or contact lenses. However, Lasik surgery can treat all of these conditions. It does this by making precision changes to the shape of the cornea using lasers. 

If you have one or more of these conditions, would like to improve your vision, and stop using glasses or contacts, iLasik could be a great option for you.

Who Is a Good Candidate for iLasik?

You can take a quiz to find out whether you are a candidate for iLasik. The general requirements are:

  • over 18 years of age
  • stable vision – little change in your prescription in the last year
  • not suffer from chronic dry eye

You must also not be pregnant or nursing or have any current eye injuries or infections. You must also have no history of herpes simplex or herpes zoster outbreaks near the eyes.

While this is a guide, an in-office consultation with an iLasik specialist will confirm whether you can proceed with the treatment.

What Outcomes Can I Expect?

iLasik is a very successful way to correct vision. Most people walk away with better vision than they have had in years, if ever.

It’s very successful in treating astigmatism, myopia, and hyperopia. Most people (more than 90%) end up with 20/20 vision and are delighted with the results. 

On rare occasions, there are some side effects. Feel free to discuss any concerns that you have with your iLasik specialist during the consultation period.

What Is Refractive Lens Exchange?

We accept that as we age, our eyesight changes – sadly, not for the better!

But what many of us may not be aware that this is caused by dysfunctional lens syndrome. This syndrome causes the lens in our eye to work less efficiently over time. This process begins after 40 and usually results in needing cataract surgery later in life. 

Refractive lens exchange (RLE) is a form of surgery that replaces defective lenses with new ones. In the past, these were limited to monofocal lenses. This meant that you would still need reading glasses.

Now, lens technology has moved on. At Eye Lasik Austin, we use Full Focus® intraocular lens implants. These advanced lens implants allow you to see clearly up close, far away, and in between!

What Conditions Can Refractive Lens Exchange Treat?

Refractive lens exchange surgery is the same as cataract surgery. But there is no need to wait until cataracts start to rob you of your vision to have this surgery! It involves lens removal and replacement and is a simple procedure with a fast recovery time.

People with dysfunctional lens syndrome find that their lenses begin to stiffen in their forties. In their fifties, night vision often deteriorates. Those aged 65 and over are likely to suffer from full cataracts.

Refractive lens exchange surgery treats all of these conditions by replacing the lens. You will not develop cataracts after having RLE surgery! 

Who Is a Good Candidate for Refractive Lens Exchange Surgery?

Refractive lens exchange surgery may be a good option for some patients who are not suitable candidates for iLasik. Even after having iLasik, you will still develop dysfunctional lens syndrome.

This is not iLasik ‘wearing off’ – the cornea is fine, the lens is the problem. So if you are over 45 and suffering the effects of dysfunctional lens syndrome, lens removal and replacement may be the best option.

People are sometimes unable to access Lasik surgery due to corneal irregularities. Severe refractive errors may also mean that iLasik is not a good option. In these cases, refractive lens exchange may help.

It’s possible that down the line, many people who have had Lasik surgery will also need to have refractive lens exchange. There is no need to wait until cataracts develop to have this procedure.

What Outcomes Can I Expect?

Refractive lens exchange surgery can greatly improve your daily vision. It can improve your eyesight so much that some patients may no longer need to use glasses as often as before. 

And as mentioned, there’s no possibility of developing cataracts in the future!

The Benefits of iLasik and RLE

If you are suffering from poor eyesight, help may be at hand. Whether your condition is related to your corneas or lenses, iLasik and RLE can help. Discuss these options with a specialist to find out the best treatment for you.

The team at Eye Lasik Austin are experts in both iLasik and RLE surgeries. They’re ready and waiting to give you a consultation and advise on your options.

Click here to book your free consultation today!

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Eye LASIK Austin

6500 N. Mopac • Building 2, Suite 2101 • Austin, TX 78731

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