More appropriate for patients over the age of 40 and the procedure uses the same technique as cataract surgery. The natural lens of the eye is replaced with an artificial one to correct your vision. It also avoids any future need for cataract surgery which affects all of us with age.
Refractive Lens Exchange
RLE is an excellent alternative for certain patients who are unsuitable for a standard laser procedure. The treatment itself is based on the routine protocol for cataract extraction and involves removal of the crystalline lens (which may or not be defective) and replacing it with another lens to correct vision.
The power of the new intraocular lens is predetermined to compensate for the patient’s glasses or contact lens prescription, whereas in cataract surgery, the new lens is often the same power as the existing one. The required lens power is determined by the surgeon prior to surgery based on biometry data.
RLE may be carried out using single vision IOLs (mono-focals), or using multi-focal IOLs, which aim to restore vision at all distances. Intra-ocular lenses designed to reduce dependency on near vision glasses can be divided into two separate categories, namely accommodating IOLs and multi-focal IOLs. As it stands at the moment, no technology exists which is able to restore the eye’s natural accommodation and as such, there are some compromises which need to be achieved.
The two eyes are treated separately, usually one week apart. This allows the surgeon to tailor their approach to treating the second eye taking into account the outcome of the first, thus allowing them to better meet the expectations of the patient.
The procedure itself usually takes less than 30 minutes under local anaesthesia to perform. It is usually painless, or mildly uncomfortable and the healing process starts immediately, with recovery typically expected within four weeks.