Refractive Lens Exchange

Or 'RLE'

What is Refractive Lens Exchange or RLE?

For patients in the 40+ age group with very high prescriptions, or where laser vision correction is not suitable, refractive lens exchange (RLE) may be the best way of improving vision and reducing dependence on glasses.

During RLE, the natural lens is removed and an artificial, customized lens is put in its place to correct the spectacle prescription.

RLE can also be combined with laser vision correction to correct any residual refractive error using a procedure called bioptics.

Refractive lens exchange surgery being performed by Mr Ali Mearza

Advantages of RLE

There are several advantages to RLE over other forms of refractive surgery. If you have a thin cornea, dry eyes, or other minor corneal problems, RLE may be a better alternative to laser eye surgery. RLE may be the only option for people with high refractive error. Because RLE removes the natural lens, there is no possibility of developing a cataract in the future.

Associated risks

Because RLE is a more invasive procedure than LASIK and LASEK, it carries slightly more risk. However, our surgeons have carried out over 3000 RLE procedures and have a complication rate of less than 1%.

Artificial lenses

Artificial lenses

The flexible intraocular lenses (IOLs) we use for RLE are made from silicone or acrylic.

Monofocal lenses correct only distance or near vision. If you have monofocal lenses inserted which are set up for distance vision, you will still need glasses for reading and vice versa.

Multifocal lenses correct distance and near vision and offer a higher probability of achieving spectacle independence.

Toric lenses are used to correct astigmatism.

Your surgeon will be able to advise you on which lenses would be most suitable for you.

IOL used in refractive lens exchange surgery

What happens during the pre-operative consultation?

At the pre-operative consultation for refractive lens exchange, your surgeon will establish the degree of refractive error present (your glasses prescription). Your surgeon uses biometry to calculate the correct lens power that will be implanted into the eye. This examines various parameters inside the eye such as the eye’s length, corneal shape and various other components within the eye.

Your surgeon will also determine which lens option would work best based on the tests performed and your requirements.

What happens during the RLE procedure?

The surgery is done with local anaesthetic eye drops and takes around 10-20 minutes. A tiny incision is made in the eye and the natural lens is removed with a sophisticated small ultra-sound probe, leaving the capsule of the lens behind to house the new lens implant. Your new artificial lens is then inserted through the same incision.

Recovery time

Recovery is very quick with patients seeing within a few minutes of the procedure. The vision then progressively improves over the next few days.

Intra-ocular lens power calculations

The team at Vision Correction London use an advanced testing procedure known as biometry to accurately calculate the power of the lens that will be implanted in the eye. The test examines various parameters inside the eye such as the eye’s length and corneal shape, and the position of anatomical structures within the eye.

As technology and computer software improves, biometry has become more accurate and improves yearly. More recently the Hill-RBF calculator has been a great development in software and now offers an unparalleled level of accuracy.

For all patients including those who have extremely high prescriptions the Hill-RBF software offers the advantage of employing neural network technology to offer the best results. This is especially important with multifocal lens implants where the desired outcome is to reduce the dependence on glasses. The software has the advantage of reducing the need for further fine tuning by laser which is sometimes required for these patients.

The team at Vision Correction London have adopted the Hill-RBF system as standard for lens calculations in cataract and refractive lens exchange surgery.

The whole experience was seamless. Everything from the pre tests through to the actual procedure was managed professionally. I was fully informed from the beginning and the results of the surgery were transformative. I would recommend him and his team and endorse that they are truly a 5+ star experience. He is also a lovely person with a good sense of humour. No need for nervousness or apprehension. He is clearly at the top of his profession.

Pamela

Refractive lens exchange

The whole experience was seamless. Everything from the pre tests through to the actual procedure was managed professionally. I was fully informed from the beginning and the results of the surgery were transformative. I would recommend him and his team and endorse that they are truly a 5+ star experience. He is also a lovely person with a good sense of humour. No need for nervousness or apprehension. He is clearly at the top of his profession.

Pamela

Refractive lens exchange