Refractive Lens Exchange
in Saskatoon

A Laser Eye Surgery Alternative

What Is Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)?

RLE is an effective alternative surgery for patients that are not candidate for corneal-based refractive surgery, such as SMILE, LASIK or PRK. Unlike these procedures which alter the shape of the cornea, RLE changes the focusing power of the lens within the eye. This procedure is similar to cataract surgery, which involves removing the natural lens from the eye and replacing it with an intraocular lens (IOL) that corrects vision and decreases the need for prescription glasses or contact lenses. The procedure can be completed manually with a surgical blade or with the use of a femtosecond laser to increase safety and precision. The difference with RLE in comparison to cataract surgery is the lens being replaced is clear with RLE, rather than a cloudy lens due to a cataract. RLE is especially useful in treating presbyopia, the inability to focus at near as the eye ages.

Benefits of RLE

  • Increased freedom – RLE successfully treats a wide range of hyperopia and myopia to reduce dependence on glasses or contact lenses. 
  • Premium intraocular lens – The implanted lens can be customized to treat astigmatism and presbyopia to optimize vision.
    • Astigmatism – Toric lenses can be used to correct astigmatism to improve overall vision.
    • Presbyopia – Trifocal or Extended Depth of Focus lenses can be used to decrease the need for computer or reading glasses.
  • Cataract prevention – RLE eliminates the risk of developing cataracts in the future.
  • Thin corneas – Patients previously not a candidate for laser vision correction due to thin corneas, may now benefit from lens-based surgeries such as RLE.
  • Long-lasting results – RLE is a permanent solution that decreases the risk of deteriorating vision due to age or regression associated with corneal surgeries.
  • Laser-assisted surgery – Laser-assisted surgery offers the benefit of a higher degree of accuracy and safety during surgery.

What To Expect After Surgery

RLE is typically completed without using any stitches because the small incisions are designed to be self-healing. Vision will be blurred for the first few days, with gradual improvement over the first 2 weeks. It is expected to experience irritation, glare, haloes and light sensitivity during the initial healing phase. 

The Doctors and staff at HLVC strive to make your RLE experience a well-informed and comfortable one. Your successful outcome is important to us. That is why we maintain a close relationship with your optometrist in monitoring your post-operative healing.