Refractive Lens Exchange Surgery

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) surgery is, for the most part, identical to routine cataract surgery.  The major difference, however, is that it is performed on a patient who does not have a cataract but desires freedom from spectacles. The most common form of cataract surgery today is a process called phacoemulsification . After the eye is fully numbed, the surgeon will make a very small incision in the surface of the eye in or near the cornea . A thin probe is inserted through the incision that uses ultrasonic vibrations to dissolve (phacoemulsify) the lens. These tiny fragmented pieces are then sucked out through the same probe. Once the lens fragments are removed, an artificial lens is placed into the same thin capsular bag that the natural lens occupied.

Subsequent to the lens surgery, vision enhancement procedures may be performed to obtain optimal vision.  These procedures might include:

  • Astigmatic Keratotomy (incisions in the outer cornea to alter its shape)
  • Secondary low-power lens implant insertion (insertion over the primary lens)
  • Intraocular lens exchange (changing the lens implant to optimize focus)
  • Conductive Keratoplasty® (radio-frequency energy applied to the outer cornea to alter its shape)
  • PRK or LASIK (laser shaping procedures of the cornea )