Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) is identical to modern cataract surgery. Both operations involve replacing the natural lens with an IOL. The only difference is that cataract surgery is performed mainly to correct blur or light scatter caused by a misty natural lens; whereas RLE is performed to reduce the need for glasses or contact lenses.
Intraocular lens implantation (IOL) implantation is a bit like building your glasses or contact lenses into your eyes.
If you are over 50 years of age and have a glasses prescription higher than the normal range for laser eye surgery, you are likely to be suitable for RLE. Almost any level of myopia (short sight) or hyperopia (long sight) can be corrected by RLE, and IOLs with built in astigmatism correction are available.
• Monofocal IOLs – monofocal IOLs aim to reduce spectacle dependence for distance (driving) vision
• Multifocal IOLs – multifocal IOLs aim to reduce spectacle dependence for a wider range of activities, including intermediate (computer screens) and near (reading) vision If you are suitable for RLE, your surgeon will discuss which IOL type is the best option for you
You may not be suitable for multifocal IOL implantation if you have pre-existing problems with your eye health.