Scroll Top
1211 W La Palma Ave. Suite 201 Anaheim, CA 92801

Refractive Lens Exchange – Lasik Alternative

Vision and eye health worsens with age. Refractive Lens Exchange offers a permanent solution for patients suffering with vision changes and managing with glasses and contact lenses. Patients who undergo refractive lens exchange (RLE) abandon these eye accessories for the convenience of a more permanent solution.

Refractive Lens Exchange surgery is a compelling alternative for those that do not qualify for Lasik Surgery. Depending on a variety of health factors, Lasik is the most common surgery performed for correction of myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. The difference between Lasik and Refractive Lens Exchange is that it modifies the cornea to reshape the eye. The offset of previous astigmatism, nearsightedness, and farsightedness of a patient to the result allows the cornea to once again properly bend and focus light on the retina. Lasik is performed on prime candidates aged between 20 and 40. The candidates who are not found ineligible for lasik, opt for between the ages of 20 and 40 as the prime candidate, but are determined eligible or not based on a variety of factors such as one eye condition and general health.

Advantages of Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)

Advantages of RLE involves elimination of reliance on glasses and contact lenses, longevity of effectiveness, and provides stable vision without the risk of regression. The cornea is relatively intact during the procedure as Ocular dryness is less affected by Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) than LASIK. There is no possibility of developing cataracts later in life, treating more severe nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism than LASIK. It can be done with multifocal lenses, which correct vision for varying distances.

Why do patients choose RLE?

A common patient with vision changes is a good candidate for Refractive Lens Exchange who didn’t qualify for Lasik. The main factors for a good candidate for Refractive Lens Exchange are age and the related health of their existing lenses. As their natural lenses become stiffer, lacking the ability to autofocus and dysfunctional at top levels, patients in their 50’s are often better candidates for Refractive Lens Exchange than Lasik.

On the other hand, Lasik is typically suited for younger patients than those who are aged above fifty. They still have health benefits suited for patients who retain natural lenses with a lot of clarity and flexibility left to make the procedure worthwhile. The Refractive Lens Exchange candidates, though, likely will not need any further vision corrections moving forward. The long-term benefits are higher for RLE as it is a more involved and complex procedure than Lasik. Lenses themselves are often customized to the specific needs of the patient, adding a notable expense to the procedure.

Outcome of RLE

Refractive Lens Exchange completely removes the natural lenses and replaces it with an artificial intraocular lens. Lasik on the other hand reworks the natural material of the eye. The result is very similar to Lasik both in quality of vision and recovery time and is essentially the same procedure one would go through for cataract surgery. The new lens technology can replace accommodation and provide sharp eyesight at all distances but another key difference of Refractive Lens Exchange is that patients will lose all natural accommodation to change focus from distant to near. The outcome is very similar for both Lasik and Refractive Lens Exchange, choosing between the two often comes down to your situation rather than a preference. Refractive Lens Exchange has some distinct advantages and disadvantages in comparison to Lasik.

Is Refractive Lens Exchange Procedure Worth It?

Given that RLE is a more involved and complex procedure than LASIK, the long-term advantages are more. The lenses themselves in RLE are often customized to the specific needs of a patient, adding a notable expense to the procedure. In the Refractive Lens Exchange procedure, insurance generally does not cover any portion of the cost because it has been considered an elective procedure. Refractive Lens Exchange is an effective long-term solution for vision correction and is often ideal for those who are not viable candidates for Lasik. RLE is an effective long-term solution for vision correction and is often ideal for those who are not viable candidates for LASIK. Millions of these procedures are done in the United States each year, making it a trusted and common operation with many qualified surgeons across the country.


Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) has a lot of potential advantages for patients with blurry vision as wearing contact lenses can be cumbersome for many patients. Over the course of the years, procedures like RLE are fine tuned to treat refractive errors. These errors can prevent light from focussing properly on the retina. Refractive errors for hyperopia (farsightedness), myopia (nearsightedness), and astigmatism (imperfection in the curvature of the eye) can be treated surgically. In RLE, the patient’s cornea remains intact, no tissue from the cornea is removed, the patient’s natural crystalline lens which is known as the iris is removed and replaced with a biocompatible man-made lens. These lenses are prepared with a unique prescription as per patient’s refractive error. The patients are benefited immensely as they don’t have to wear glasses and it acts as a permanent solution for them.

Related Posts

Skip to content