Although LASIK is by far the most popular type of refractive surgery, it is hardly your only option for correcting refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Refractive lens exchange (RLE) is a great alternative for patients who would like to lower their dependency on prescription lenses, especially those who are not considered good candidates for LASIK or PRK. To educate our patients about every option we offer, the top-rated ophthalmologists at Clarity Eye Group answer some of the most frequently asked questions in this blog.
Why Might a Doctor Recommend Refractive Lens Exchange Instead of LASIK?
The primary reason a doctor might suggest refractive lens exchange (sometimes known as clear lens extraction) is due to age. Although LASIK is performed on patients of all ages, it is most effective on those 40 years old and younger. That is because the eyes start to go through natural changes around middle age. For many patients over 40, RLE becomes a better option.
Patients who have moderate to severe farsightedness may also be stronger candidates for refractive lens exchange. This procedure is much better at addressing significant hyperopia than LASIK is.
Is Refractive Lens Exchange Safe?
RLE is a very safe procedure with low complication rates, especially when performed by the talented doctors at Clarity Eye Group. Since it is a more intricate procedure than refractive laser surgeries, it is considered slightly riskier than LASIK and PRK. Nevertheless, patient satisfaction surveys for RLE earn high marks: over 95% of patients who have the surgery say they can see significantly better afterward.
Is It True That RLE Prevents Cataracts?
Yes. Cataracts, or cloudiness that forms on the eye with age, can only develop on a natural lens. Therefore, if you have replaced your natural lens with an intraocular lens (IOL), you cannot develop cataracts. In fact, refractive lens exchange is a nearly identical procedure to cataract surgery. Since about half of Americans have cataracts by the age of 80, you can consider it a preemptive protection for your eyes that helps you to see better in the meantime.
What Is the Difference between Monofocal and Multifocal Lenses?
Monofocal lenses utilize a single point of focus and are best for improving distance vision. If you have or develop trouble seeing up close, you may need to wear reading glasses even with monofocal lenses. On the other hand, multifocal lenses offer many points of focus, helping you to see objects both up close and far away.
Clarity Eye Group offers many premium IOLs (including ReSTOR, Symfony, PanOptix, Tecnis, Crystalens and AcrySof IQ Vivity). Our doctors will select a lens that is ideal to correct your unique vision imperfections.
Discuss RLE with Clarity Eye Group’s Doctors
Our team of experts in Huntington Beach, CA, are happy to examine your eyes and discuss all of your refractive surgery options, including refractive lens exchange and LASIK, to determine which is right for you. To learn more and assess your candidacy, please call (714) 842-0651 today.