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Refractive Lens Exchange

Refractive lens exchange (RLE) and Intraocular Lens Placement seems to be the latest eye surgery combination that is very appealing to baby boomers that do not wish to wear reading glasses and may have inhibited distance focus vision because of presbyopia or early stage cataracts. The interesting part is that consumers may not know that this approach is available yet and may be surprised that it is an option that may be more appropriate for them, despite the fact that it’s been available to pass a test of time. As Dr. Jay Bansil, leading ophthalmologist of San Francisco, California explains, “People are very familiar with LASIK AND PRK due to strong media attention and are often not aware that they may be better candidates for Refractive Lens Exchange.   In fact, with the enhanced diagnostic tests we have available, we can best identify the appropriate approach with greater precision, offering the opportunity for optimized outcomes since the advent of safe and effective alternative refractive surgery options.”

Sometimes referred to as, Refractive Cataract surgery, the approach combines Refractive Lens Exchange (a technique for bending) with Intraocular Lens Placement.     Refractive Lens Exchange may also offer an option for people with thin corneas interested in LASIK to restore vision but do not qualify for LASIK because of thin corneas or high refractive errors. The results are promising for people who have the following goals, providing candidates qualify for treatment.

  • Reduce or eliminate the need for eyeglasses!
  • Do not wish to undergo later stage cataract surgery!

The onset of a cataract may not be distinguishable to you, but an early stage cataract may be distinguishable to ophthalmologists. In fact, Presbyopia, which limits your focus ability, affects many people beginning age 40. Since most people do acquire Presbyopia and cataracts at some point, it is wise to ensure you proceed with annual eye exams. As Dr. Samuel Boles, leading ophthalmologist of Annapolis, Maryland adds, “The earlier a cataract begins, the faster they tend to progress. This makes it important for people to be aware of their options at the onset of a cataract. At all ages, exceptional vision is critical. Premium lenses (IOL) are rapidly improving. The current generation of lenses offers tremendous optics. These advances allow me to offer even better outcomes. The advancements in Artificial (intraocular) lenses technology, including monofocal and multifocal intraocular lenses, enable people to more easily function for enhanced computer viewing, reading and better distance focus.”

Candidacy for treatment is factor in the decision for RLE and IOL placement. Ophthalmologists that perform Refractive Lens Exchange and IOL placement may use a visual acuity test, glare test, contrast sensitivity test and other tests to rule out variable eye conditions in order to identify candidacy for treatment. Your current status of vision is also a factor in the qualification for treatment. People with astigmatism do not qualify for RLE and IOL placement. With the use of advanced diagnostic testing equipment, such as, contrast sensitivity testing, ophthalmologists are able to detect early stage cataracts. As Dr. Adam Beck, leading ophthalmologist of Boston, Massachusetts explains, “For the right candidate with the right expectations, RLE and IOL tends to be a highly satisfactory procedure. For example, younger patients tend to be happy not needing to wear reading glasses whereas seniors tend to be satisfied by enhancing overall vision with traditional cataract surgery and may not mind wearing reading glasses.”

Following a consultation with an ophthalmologist, you may also be enlightened by other alternatives for vision enhancement that reduce or eliminate dependence on eyeglasses and contact lenses.   Other vision enhancement procedures include: Implantable Collamer Lens (ILC) for severe nearsightedness or PRK, LASEK and LASIK that focuses on adjusting the curvature of your eyes to restore vision, instead of a removable ILC. Learn more about these alternatives at Top Docs Review LASIK and Choices

Medical insurance does not pay for the Refractive Lens Exchange and IOL procedure. Despite the cost of $2,500 to $4,500 per eye or higher, depending on the type of artificial lens, many have found the investment worthwhile. Medicare may step in to cover the costs for seniors that qualify.

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It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition. Your Health Access disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.