There are many ways to decrease or eliminate your dependence on corrective eyewear, and the right procedure and technique for you depend on your age and vision needs. LASIK and refractive lens exchange (RLE) both offer crisp, clear vision, but how these procedures correct your vision is vastly different. Clarity Eye Group provides vision correction with LASIK and RLE at our Huntington Beach, California, office.

What Is LASIK?

LASIK is a form of laser vision correction that alters the corneal shape to improve nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Our eye doctors offer all-laser LASIK, which starts with the creation of a flap in the cornea’s surface (transparent dome at the front of the eye) that folds back. The LASIK flap gives our eye surgeons access to more of the cornea. A cool beam of ultraviolet light from an excimer laser then reshapes the cornea to correct your vision based on measurements from a detailed eye exam. The flap is folded back in place, and the tissues start to heal within seconds.

LASIK is best for patients under 50 who do not have presbyopia (age-related blurry near vision) that requires reading glasses. Presbyopia is a refractive error caused by the stiffening of the eye’s natural lens and has nothing to do with the cornea. The average LASIK patient is in their 30s with stable vision and healthy eyes.

What Is RLE?

RLE, also called clear lens exchange, removes the natural lens in the eye and replaces it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) implant. The implant is programmed with your prescription to correct for nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and, in some cases, presbyopia. RLE is best for patients over 50 who may require reading glasses due to presbyopia.

RLE corrects refractive errors with the IOL and eliminates the need for cataract surgery in the future. Cataracts develop as proteins in the natural lens that clump together and form a cloud. Cataract surgery removes the lens and replaces it with an IOL. RLE surgery is similar, except the lens removed is healthy. Men and women with refractive lens exchange will not struggle with cataracts later in life because the natural eye lens is already removed.

Patients who aren’t a good fit for LASIK due to high refractive errors, presbyopia, or other reasons, may qualify for RLE. RLE may provide better outcomes than LASIK for people with higher degrees of farsightedness or nearsightedness. While LASIK monovision may improve presbyopia for some patients, RLE is typically the better option and provides higher-quality vision in these patients.

Essentially, LASIK is best for younger patients who fit the required parameters, and RLE is better for patients 50 and older with presbyopia.

If you’re interested in LASIK or refractive lens exchange, contact Clarity Eye Group to schedule a consultation and discuss your vision correction options. Call (714) 842-0651 to book your appointment in Huntington Beach, California. We serve patients in Orange County, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, and nearby areas of California.