Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)
Unlike laser corrective surgeries, which alter the shape of the cornea, a refractive lens exchange changes the focusing power of the lens within the eye. For this procedure, the eye’s natural lens is removed and replaced by a manufactured lens implant which has been selected to provide clear focusing ability. The lens implant remains within the eye, without needing any further care after surgery. It provides a wide range of focusing freedom and can correct very high powers. This procedures can be use in patients that are not suitable to Corneal laser procedures or who wants better correction for near vision than the laser blended vision.
A refractive lens exchange is a simple outpatient procedure. Patients are sedated with oral or intravenous medications, if necessary. Only the selected eye is “frozen” for this painless surgery. In most cases, topical drops are used to anaesthetize the eye, so no injection is necessary.
A refractive lens exchange procedure is similar to modern cataract surgery. To begin, the surgeon makes a small incision in either the white area of the eye or on the edge of the cornea. The surgeon inserts a delicate instrument to create a smooth, round opening in the outer capsule of the natural lens. Using an ultrasonic suction probe, the surgeon gently breaks up and suctions out the gel from the lens capsule. Then, the surgeon inserts a high quality lens implant, and positions it securely within the natural lens capsule. These steps are now done with Lasers. The whole procedure takes around 10 minutes. Both eyes can be done at the same time in most situations. Some lens implants can correct astigmatism. If needed, other surgical procedures can be combined with lens implantation to solve astigmatism focusing problems.
Some patients would need both RLE to correct the major part of the glasses prescription and fine tuned with Laser cornea procedures later. That is what we call “Bioptics”. Dr. Youssef is an expert in such procedures.
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