Understanding RLE

Patients over the age of 45 and with severe near-sightedness, far-sightedness, or astigmatism may be more ideal candidates for RLE or “refractive lens exchange” rather than laser vision correction of the cornea.

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In RLE, the patient’s natural crystalline lens is removed via ultrasound (phacoemulsification) through a microscopic incision and replaced with a clear artificial intraocular lens (IOL) more suitable to the patient’s eye shape. Due to the extremely small size of the incisions and ample pain control, most patients will experience nearly no pain during the extremely short surgery. Having exclusive access to the most advanced IOL technology in the world, Lumea surgeons can correct BOTH patients’ distance AND reading vision with unprecedented satisfaction and accuracy.

Early side effects of RLE may include swelling, increased eye pressure, inflammation or rarely, infection. Patients may also experience temporary dry eye or temporary glaring around lights in the evening (depending on the IOL type that is chosen). Essentially all side effects can be successfully treated with medications and allowing the eye to fully heal from surgery.

Ideal candidates for RLE are:

  • Over 45
  • Severe myopia (near-sightedness)
  • Moderate hyperopia (far-sightedness)
  • Moderate astigmatism up to 5.0D
  • Desires distance + / – near vision correction
Surgery Length
  • 30 minutes
  • Local with IV sedation
Side Effects
  • Dry eyes
  • Irritation
  • Temporary night glare
  • Infection
  • Temporary swelling or inflammation
  • Increased eye pressure
  • Discomfort 12‑24 hours
  • Vision 3‑7 days
  • Exercise 5‑7 days
  • Make up 7‑14 days
Final Visual Outcome
  • 2‑4 weeks
  • Dry eyes typically resolve in 4‑8 weeks
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