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Refractive Center (RLE)

Refractive Lens Exchange

Couple on a benchRefractive Lens Exchange, also called clear lens exchange or RELEX is a surgical procedure for those who do not like wearing reading or bifocal glasses. It is usually the best refractive procedure for patients 45-50 years old or older and especially for those who are far sighted. During Refractive Lens Exchange the natural lens that has become stiff and can no longer focus is removed; a new implant lens is inserted in its place behind the pupil. The new lens is able to focus at near and distance like a built in bifocal.

This surgery is very effective in reducing or eliminating the need for glasses. Just like cataract surgery, Refractive Lens Exchange is performed in the operating room and is usually completed one eye at a time. Recovery is fairly quick with most patients seeing very well after one to two weeks. Patients can resume normal activities or work after one day.

For people over 50 this works better than LASIK for several reasons. First, LASIK does not do a good job in restoring reading vision. In addition eyes in this age range tend to change more rapidly. Consequently, the benefits of LASIK may not last very long. Most patients who undergo Refractive Lens Exchange experience few vision changes as they get older so the results are much better for the long term. It also means the Refractive Lens Exchange patients will never get cataracts!

We have seen excellent results with this procedure. It is the only way to get distance and near vision at the same time, in both eyes, without being as dependent on glasses or contacts (remember, some patients may need glasses at times after any refractive procedure). If you are 45 years or older and do not like wearing glasses we would like to speak with you about this procedure.