Refractive Lens Exchange

When the cataract procedure is used primarily to reduce spectacle dependence, rather than to clear blurred vision resulting from a cloudy natural lens or cataract, the operation is referred to as REFRACTIVE LENS EXCHANGE (RLE). Since almost any level of long or short sight and astigmatism can be corrected refractive lens exchange is commonly used as an alternative to laser eye treatment or other implant techniques.

Modern refractive lens exchange surgery is a form of keyhole surgery in which the natural lens is removed through a 2-3mm incision. A Femtosecond Laser is used to perform with unprecedented precision the first steps of the cataract surgery: the incisions, the capsulotomy (opening of the cataract) and the lens fragmentation/softening. Those steps are performed in the laser room and immediately after the patient is taken into of the cataract is performed. The lens material is washed out and then a flexible IOL is inserted through the same small incision.

Once inside the eye, the IOL unfolds within the lens capsule to lie in the natural position, focusing light accurately on the retina. The small incision is self-sealing, and does not affect the strength of the eye wall. Please note that not in all case the Femtosecond Laser can be used for cataract surgery and whenever not possible then the surgeon will perform all surgery in the operating room and high frequency ultrasound energy delivered through a probe is used to liquefy the natural lens in a process called phacoemulsification.

Please refer/read our information about cataract surgery for all detailed benefit and risks of RLE since the 2 procedures, cataract and RLE are virtually the same.