Refractive Lens Exchange Overview

Dr. Besser recommends refractive lens exchange (RLE) as an alternative to LASIK for patients who want freedom from glasses.

RLE's advanced lens implant options can provide clear, crisp vision at all distances – eliminating the vision changes that usually occur as we age.


Powerful, lasting surgical vision correction that's better than LASIK for patients over 40.

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LASIK surgery may not be the most effective choice for everyone to eliminate their glasses or contact lenses – especially if they are beginning to experience symptoms of presbyopia (difficulty seeing up close).

These patients will benefit more from a refractive lens exchange procedure to correct their vision problems, such as myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism.

What Is Refractive Lens Exchange?

Refractive Lens Exchange (also known as lens replacement surgery) is an elective procedure used to produce sharper vision.

RLE surgery corrects refractive errors by removing the non-cataractous natural lens, and replacing it with a synthetic intraocular lens (IOL). This is the same eye surgery that is safely and commonly performed in patients with cataracts, where a cloudy lens is removed, and replaced with a clear lens – read more about the various lens types here.

Once the lens is implanted, the eye will remain relatively stable over the years, ensuring your vision won’t degrade over time. This also removes the risk of developing cataracts.

During lens replacement surgery, the new intraocular lens, or IOL, is specially chosen to correct each patient’s refractive error, freeing them from the need to use glasses or contact lenses – and in many cases, reading glasses as well.

Refractive lens exchange is a better option for many patients 40+ who aren’t candidates for LASIK laser vision correction, with these added advantages:

  • long lasting vision stability
  • zero possibility of cataracts developing with age
  • lens technologies that achieve clear vision at all distances

What Types Of Refractive Errors Does RLE treat?

Refractive errors corrected by lens replacement include:

Myopia: Nearsightedness (inability to see objects in the distance)

Hyperopia: Farsightedness (inability to see close objects)

Presbyopia: Age-related loss of close-up vision

Astigmatism: Irregular focus that may affect near and distant objects

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How Is Refractive Lens Exchange Performed?

Dr. Besser specializes in Refractive Lens Exchange using laser surgery. The procedure begins with imaging that maps the eye.

Then, a state-of-the-art femtosecond laser creates sharply focused, self-sealing micro-incisions that are cut to a precise depth and shape.

After Dr. Besser removes the natural lens, he places the IOL into the lens capsule which holds the IOL in place.

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To learn more or to schedule a consultation to see if you’re a candidate for Refractive Lens Exchange, contact our office today.

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