Refractive Lens Exchange Seattle | RLE Tacoma | Evergreen Eye

Refractive Lens Exchange

Refractive Lens Exchange is a procedure that can correct refractive errors and reduce dependence on visual aids. At Evergreen Eye Center, we specialize in providing refractive lens exchange procedures tailored to each person’s unique vision needs, offering a comprehensive approach to vision correction.

What is Refractive Lens Exchange?

Refractive lens exchange, also known as RLE, is a procedure designed to reduce your dependence on glasses or contact lenses. It involves replacing your eye’s natural lens with an artificial lens to correct your refractive error.

The RLE procedure is similar to cataract surgery, but it’s done even when there’s no significant cloudiness in the lens. RLE is usually a very quick procedure with a relatively short recovery period. Patients who have RLE surgery will never develop cataracts and based on your lens choice, many patients permanently have good near and distance vision without glasses.

It’s important to consult with your eye doctor at Evergreen Eye Center to determine if RLE is a suitable option and discuss the potential benefits and risks based on your individual circumstance.

What Happens During the Refractive Lens Exchange Procedure?

First, your surgeon will numb your eye to ensure you are comfortable during the procedure. Next, they will make a small incision in the cornea, the clear front part of the eye, in order to reach your natural lens.

Ultrasound will be used to break up and carefully remove your natural lens through the incision. An artificial intraocular lens, or IOL, is then inserted into the eye. The incision made in the cornea is self-sealing and typically does not require stitches. 

The specific type of IOL depends on your vision needs and desired visual outcome. There are many IOL options available, each serving different purposes.

Your Evergreen Eye Center surgeon will help you determine which option is best for you.

What is Recovery Like After Refractive Lens Exchange?

Recovery time after refractive lens exchange varies from person to person. For the first few hours after the procedure, you may experience a scratchy or gritty sensation in the eye. 

Your vision will initially be blurry or hazy. The initial scratchiness will improve by bedtime, and the blurry vision will improve each day over the next 1-2 weeks.

To ensure proper healing, it’s essential to avoid rubbing your eyes and follow the recovery instructions provided by your eye surgeon.

It’s important to be patient and give your eyes time to adjust. During the first week, it’s important to avoid activities, such as heavy lifting or participating in contact sports. 

Your eye surgeon will provide specific guidelines regarding any restrictions or precautions you need to follow. You will be prescribed eye drops to help prevent infection and control inflammation.

Take any medication your eye doctor gives you as prescribed to reduce your chances of developing complications from the procedure. You will also need to see your eye doctor for follow-up appointments so they can monitor your progress.

How Do I Know if Refractive Lens Exchange is Right For Me?

To determine if refractive lens exchange is right for you, you can schedule an RLE evaluation at Evergreen Eye Center. During this appointment, your eye doctor will evaluate various factors, including your eye health, refractive error, and overall vision goals. If you are found to have visually significant cataracts, there are also options to permanently minimize your need for glasses or contacts.

RLE is generally recommended for those with high degrees of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism who are not suitable candidates for other vision correction procedures like LASIK or PRK. It is also an option for those who prefer to reduce their dependence on glasses or contact lenses. 

Your eye surgeon will consider your lifestyle and visual needs and discuss the potential benefits, risks, and alternatives. They will provide personalized recommendations based on your eyes and vision goals to help you make an informed decision about pursuing RLE or exploring alternative options.

Are you interested in learning if RLE is right for you? Schedule an appointment at Evergreen Eye Center today!

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