Refractive Lens Exchange: What You Need To Know


Refractive lens exchange is a surgical procedure in which an endogenous lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens. A refractive lens exchange is usually carried out to correct severe ametropias such as farsightedness and nearsightedness or correct presbyopia or astigmatism. Artificial lenses used in refractive lens exchange include mono-focal lenses, toric artificial lenses, multifocal lenses, and accommodative lenses. Learn more about RLE (Refractive Lens Exchange) vs LASIK, visit websites that talk about it.

Definition: Refractive Lens Exchange

“Refractive” surgical methods are treatment methods for correcting ametropia. The most widespread surgical methods with the laser (usually excimer laser) on the cornea, e.g., the so-called Lasik. In some cases, however, laser treatment is out of the question so that a “refractive lens exchange” can be useful as an alternative. This is especially the case with patients with severe ametropia or additional presbyopia. With a refractive lens exchange, the natural lens is removed, and an artificial lens is inserted in its place.

Since a refractive lens exchange is rarely a medical indication but rather a cosmetic indication intended to avoid glasses or contact lenses, a careful preliminary examination is significant before a refractive lens exchange.

This avoids unnecessary risks from the operation and disappointment for the patient if the result does not meet expectations. Therefore, the patient’s treatment expectations should be discussed in detail and weighed up in advance of the refractive lens exchange. For example, whether a complete lack of glasses is expected or a minor ametropia is tolerated or even desired. This is similar to the question of possible reading glasses after the refractive lens exchange.

The preliminary examinations before a refractive lens exchange include an ophthalmological examination, also with a dilated pupil, the determination of visual acuity and the need for correction, measurement of the intraocular pressure, measurement of the pupil width (also under twilight conditions), assessment of the corneal thickness, surface and “quality,” measurement the length of the eyes, possibly also an examination of the tear fluid and the twilight and contrast vision.

Procedure For Refractive Lens Exchange

Refractive lens exchange is an operation that is the same as that of cataracts. The natural lens is always removed, and an artificial lens is used. In modern surgical procedures, tiny, self-closing (no stitching!) Cuts are made on the edge of the cornea (between 1.8 and 3.0 mm) through which the surgical instruments and the artificial lens get into the eye. The natural lens is not removed as a whole during refractive lens exchange. The lens cover is opened, and the lens contents are sucked off. The modern and gentle method with the nano-laser can also be used here. A foldable artificial lens is inserted into the then clear capsular bag, which is stabilized there with small retaining clips,

Depending on the present ametropia and the expectations of the result, an artificial lens with various possible optical properties is used. The exact determination and definition of the lens take place in advance of the refractive lens exchange. Click here to learn more about RLE (Refractive Lens Exchange) vs LASIK.