What is RLE Surgery and Is It the Right Vision Correction Option For Me? | Seattle Eye Specialists

At Clearview Eye & Laser, our mission is to help keep you in focus. This means offering a variety of vision correction surgeries or services to fit your unique eye health needs. While iLASIK may be our most popular and technologically-advanced procedure, it may not be the best option for some.

Refractive lens exchange (RLE) is an vision correction procedure that replaces your eye’s clear natural lens with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) through a small incision in the iris. The IOL corrects refractive error in your eyes to achieve sharper focus and reduce the need for eyeglasses or bifocals. RLE can help eliminate or reduce farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism, while also preventing cataracts from developing as you age.

Seattle Clearview Eye & Laser

The RLE procedure is essentially identical to cataract surgery. The primary difference between the two surgeries is that RLE helps improve vision and decrease the need for glasses, while removing the cataract in cataract surgery is done for medical purposes. Typically, your Seattle eye doctor will treat one eye at a time, with the next procedure scheduled one or two weeks apart. Anesthetic eye drops are applied before the procedure to prevent any pain or discomfort. The procedure can last from 15 to 20 minutes.

We recommend taking a few days to completely recover from RLE, but most of our patients can return to their normal activities the day after surgery. Our patients typically report visual improvement after a day or two. Your eye doctor will prescribe eye drops to prevent infection and promote healing.

We typically recommend RLE for people with presbyopia (age-related condition that results in the inability to focus up close) or hyperopia (extreme farsightedness), for whom LASIK, PRK or phakic IOL surgery generally are not suitable. Here are a few indicators that you may be a candidate for RLE:

  • You do not qualify for laser vision correction, such as iLASIK, because you have extreme farsightedness
  • You are over the age of 40 with difficulties focusing on objects up close
  • You are tired of wearing bifocals or contacts for both reading and distance vision

The decision to get vision correction surgery is no light matter. However, with guidance of your trusted and knowledgable Seattle or Highline eye surgery specialists at Clearview Eye & Laser, you can feel assured knowing that your questions and concerns will be addressed. To determine if you’re a good candidate for RLE, schedule a consultation now.