Refractive Lens Exchange, am I a suitable candidate?

IOL Lens replacement on finger

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) Replaces Your Eye’s Natural Lens With A Soft Gel Intra Ocular Lens (IOL) To Correct Your Refractive Error And Achieve Sharper Focus. Refractive Lens Exchange Is A Better Surgical Procedure Than Lasik Surgery For People Over 40 With Hyperopia.

Refractive Lens Exchange Surgery procedure is virtually identical to cataract surgery.

Patients over 40 with a deteriorating vision for distance (hyperopia) can benefit from refractive lens exchange to lessen their reliance on glasses. The difference between RLE and Cataract Surgery is that in refractive lens exchange, your lens being replaced is clearer, and your pre-surgery vision has not been reduced before surgery, by a cloudy cataract lens.

People who are middle-aged or older may have the beginnings of cataracts, that eventually could worsen, and require cataract surgery. Refractive lens exchange can be considered an excellent treatment for the early stages of cataract before a person suffers any vision loss due to a cloudy lens.

A new intra ocular lens is a permanent replacement for your natural lens and is designed to last the rest of your life.

Since the lens is situated inside your eye and not on the surface like a contact lens, it is not visible to the naked eye, and you cannot feel it.

In the 1970/80’s RLE for cataracts was usually only performed if the patient was 20/70  vision or worse in the better eye. Now the guideline is “if a cataract is sufficient to interfere with the activities of daily living surgery is advised”

 But, increasingly, people who have the initial stages of their lens starting to go cloudy  ( with minimal vision loss) opt to do Refractive Lens Exchange surgery, while they are still physically healthy enough for surgery, even if their vision is not yet impeded by a cloudy lens. Refractive Lens Exchange Surgery is only done once per eye, so doing it early makes sense

Once a patient gets into their eighties other medical problems can sometimes make major surgery difficult .. and a person then has to put up with vision loss in later years, which could have been prevented by earlier  RLE surgery.

There are several choices of IOLs to insert during Surgery

Monofocal IOLs can be just distance and use glasses for reading. Or Multifocal IOLs  can be one eye distance and one eye for reading (useful for people who have worn contact lenses in this way)

There are now different types of Multifocal IOLs. A multifocal lens that can be used for distance, intermediate, and reading. Or a newer form of multifocal  IOL called an accommodating multifocal which works in the same way as the natural lens in your eye by contracting to see to read.

Recently given FDA approval as a MULTIFOCAL IOL, and achieving good results, is a new IOL called multifocal  which has brought in a more advanced design in multifocal IOLS

Each multifocal IOL has advantages and disadvantages in terms of the best-uncorrected vision it produces at near, intermediate, and far distances, as well as the likelihood and degree of visual disturbances such as halos and night glare that might occur after surgery.

Should you as a patient go for, monofocal IOLs or multifocal IOLs?

There could be potential advances in technology which you may miss out on when you choose a new multifocal IOL today, “The future lens may offer improved quality of vision, but once you have refractive lens exchange  that basically eliminates it as an option”

Or advances in technology may be many years away…it is difficult to make that judgment decision with a multifocal IOL, and will depend on various personal factors…. but if you are planning on having distance IOLs fitted and wearing reading glasses then the technology for these is excellent and an easy decision to make.

How do you find out if you are a good candidate for Refractive Lens Exchange?

  • The first step is to have an Eye Examination and then discuss with the Optometrist or the Ophthalmologist the possible options which are available to you for RLE, and if your age and your optical prescription are the most advisable for refractive lens exchange surgery.
  • You will be asked to do some general medical checks to confirm that you are  OK for Surgery
  • The VE Medical Surgery Centre offers a very modern, same-day, Private Surgery facility in Rodney Bay with a team with a lot of experience in RLE Surgery.
  • The Surgery team of Ophthalmologist, Surgery Nurse, Anesthetist, and Care Attendant provide excellent service to make your RLE experience as easy as possible.