Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)

Many people aren’t aware that nJoy Vision offers laser eye surgery in Oklahoma City that can treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism by replacing the eye’s natural lens with a specialized intraocular lens (IOL). The procedure is virtually the same as that used for laser cataract surgery but is designed for men and women who haven’t been diagnosed with cataracts.

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RLE FAQs

What Is Refractive Lens Exchange?

Technological advances have made RLE a desirable option for patients aged 45 or older who want to minimize their need for glasses and contacts. The intraocular lenses (IOLs) now available to replace the natural lens in our eye can reduce reliance on reading glasses or bifocals due to presbyopia. Presbyopia is the age-related worsening of vision that typically begins at about age 40. The RLE procedure corrects for other refractive errors, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, and sharpens your vision’s focus.

The technology used in RLE is the same as that used for laser cataract surgery. Using the high-precision image-guided femtosecond laser, our eye surgeons create perfectly sized opening to access the natural lens and replace it with a specialized lens. The results reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses.

Can I Benefit from Refractive Lens Exchange?

When we’re young, the lens of our eye is clear and elastic and can change its shape to seamlessly adjust its focus when we look at objects at various distances. As we age, however, the lens is less adjustable and ultimately most people need reading glasses to see objects up close. This is called presbyopia.

The aging of the eye’s lens gradually continues and eventually becomes cloudy and opaque, as cataracts develop. Men and women used to wait until this point to undergo eye surgery, replacing cataracts with IOLs. Advances in technology now offer people the chance to exchange the lens of their eyes with IOLs much earlier, greatly reducing the need for reading glasses or contact lenses.

This solution is designed for anyone aged 45 or older who hasn’t been diagnosed with cataracts and who find it frustrating to rely on glasses or contacts for vision correction. Determining if you’re a good candidate for this procedure begins with a pre-operative eye test. The results of that exam determine if RLE can correct your vision.

Customized IOLs

At nJoy Vision, we offer various basic and premium IOLs that can be customized to suit your specific condition and lifestyle. These options treat different types of vision problems and our board-certified eye surgeons can help determine the IOL that’s right for you.

Basic Monofocal IOL

Monofocal IOLs are basic artificial lenses that have one focusing distance. Your choice depends on what type of vision is most important to you—up close (reading), medium range (computer screen), or distance vision (driving). A monofocal IOL that results in clear distance vision can be supplemented by wearing glasses for reading and other close-range needs.

Toric IOL for astigmatism

Basic lens implants are not able to adjust for astigmatism (an imperfection in the curvature of your cornea) which may also be affecting your vision. Toric IOLs are able to correct for astigmatism and, therefore, give you a better chance of good distance vision without glasses or contacts after your surgery.

AcrySof Toric (Alcon) and STAAR Toric (STAAR) IOLs are two brands of toric IOLs available that treat astigmatism as part of an RLE.

Multifocal IOL

Multifocal IOLs provide both distance and near focus at the same time. The lens has different zones set at different powers and is designed so that your brain learns to select the right focus automatically. With multiple points of focus, one image is in focus at a time.

Advanced Technology Extended Depth of Focus IOL

The Tecnis Symfony® Extended Depth of Focus IOL is a breakthrough for RLE procedures. The Tecnis Symfony lens is the first IOL available to correct for presbyopia that provides a continuous full range of high-quality vision. These lenses allow you to see clearly at near, intermediate and far distances and also minimize side effects associated with multifocal IOLs like glares and halos around lights.

FAQ

How is RLE different than LASIK?

LASIK reshapes the cornea using a laser. It corrects common refractive conditions, including nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. RLE is typically reserved for patients who experience changes to their vision due to the natural aging of the eye, which requires them to wear reading glasses.

What’s the difference between RLE  and cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery is a medically necessary procedure performed when glasses or contacts can no longer adequately correct someone’s vision because of cataracts. Refractive lens exchange surgery is an elective procedure that patients choose to reduce their need for glasses or contacts. Both procedures use essentially the same technique.

Are both eyes corrected at the same time?

Typically, our surgeons treat the eyes separately about 1 or 2 weeks apart. This can be discussed during the consultation.

Is RLE safe?

Laser cataract surgery is the most common surgical procedure performed in the U.S., with more than 3 million such surgeries performed annually. RLE uses the same technique and its safety is one of the reasons it’s becoming increasingly popular. Your eye doctor will discuss the potential risks with you during your consultation.

Is RLE covered by insurance?

Vision insurance does not cover elective procedures such as RLE. We offer a number of payment options, including financing and other flexible payment plans. If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), also known as a Flex account, or Health Savings Account (HSA), you may be able to pay for your procedure with pre-tax dollars.

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