Refractive Lens Exchange FAQs

Our Refractive Lens Exchange FAQs

Below is a list of questions commonly asked about Refractive Lens Exchange surgery. If you do not find the answer to your specific question, please email us or call us directly at 650-961-2585.

Am I a candidate for RLE surgery?

You may be a candidate if you:

  • Are over age 50 and having trouble with your vision
  • Do not qualify for laser vision correction
  • Have presbyopia and want to eliminate reading glasses

How is Refractive Lens Exchange different from cataract surgery?

Refractive Lens Exchange and cataract surgery are essentially the same surgery. It’s just that they are performed for different reasons. RLE is an elective procedure done to improve one’s vision and eliminate the need for glasses. Removing the cataract in cataract surgery is done for medical reasons. Glasses and contact lenses cannot correct your vision if you have a significant cataract in your eye.

What are the differences in lenses?

IOL’s come in many sizes, shapes and materials. Each technology has unique characteristics and capabilities.

Single Power Lenses (Standard, Non-Astigmatism Correcting)

  • Corrects for distance or monovision
  • No astigmatism correction: Glasses may be needed to correct any astigmatism present

Single Power Lenses (TORIC, Astigmatism Correcting)

  • Astigmatism correction built into lens
  • Corrects for distance or monovision

Light Adjustable Lens

  • Corrects for distance or monovision
  • Only intraocular lens that is adjustable post-surgery
  • Allows patients to trial and adjust their vision to their own personal needs

Multifocal Lens

  • Multifocal design allow for distance and near visual acuity
  • Over 80% of patients NEVER wear glasses
  • New aspheric design greatly reduces halos at night

Can RLE cure astigmatism?

RLE does not correct astigmatism because astigmatism is not caused by the lens itself, but by an irregularly shaped cornea. However, if you have an astigmatism, Drs. Beers and Liu can perform astigmatism reducing corneal incisions at the time of your procedure or LASIK 24 weeks after you’ve had RLE.

Is the RLE procedure painful?

No. Drs. Liu and Beers will give you Valium to relax and will place anesthetic drops in your eye. The procedure only takes about 20 minutes.

Will I still have to wear glasses after surgery?

Because Drs. Beers and Liu generally use the latest lens technology implants,  many of our patients no longer need glasses.

What are the risks of RLE surgery?

The risks associated with RLE surgery are the same as the risks associated with cataract surgery. There is a very low risk of infection since Drs. Beers and Liu will prescribe antibiotic drops after surgery. The chances of a retinal detachment are slightly higher for people who are very nearsighted and have had cataract surgery.

What are the benefits of RLE surgery?

The biggest benefit of RLE surgery is you will have much clearer, more precise vision without the use of glasses or contact lenses. Another strong advantage to the surgery is that you will never have a cataract in that eye because your lens has been removed.

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