Refractive Lens Exchange

Improve your focusing power.

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE), also known as clear lens extraction or lens replacement surgery, is an eye surgery primarily used for correcting refractive errors. This procedure is similar to cataract surgery, but it’s performed primarily to alter the eye’s focusing power rather than to remove a cloudy lens.

Curious about RLE?

In RLE, the eye’s natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). The type of IOL used can vary depending on the patient’s vision needs and the specific refractive error being corrected. There are several types of IOLs, including monofocal, multifocal, and toric lenses, each designed to address different vision issues such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia.

The procedure involves making a small incision in the eye, through which the natural lens is removed and the IOL is inserted. It’s typically an outpatient procedure, meaning patients can go home the same day.

Who should consider Refractive Lens Exchange?

RLE is often considered for people who are not good candidates for other types of refractive surgery like LASIK, especially those with presbyopia or high levels of hyperopia (farsightedness). However, like any surgical procedure, RLE has risks and potential complications, such as infection, bleeding, or retinal detachment, and it’s important for patients to discuss these risks with their eye surgeon.


This procedure can be an effective way to correct vision and reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses. It’s particularly appealing to older adults who are beginning to develop cataracts, as it can prevent the need for cataract surgery in the future.

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