Blog post by: Eye Physicians of Long Beach

Do you have presbyopia? Are you tired of wearing readers day in and day out?

With refractive lens exchange (RLE), you won’t have to wear them forever. This highly effective and safe procedure can eliminate or considerably reduce the need for reading glasses.

Keep reading to learn how to say goodbye to presbyopia and readers with refractive lens exchange and how the procedure can improve your vision for life. 

What is Presbyopia?

Age-related farsightedness, or presbyopia, is the gradual loss of the eye’s ability to focus on up-close objects. It is a common age-related eye condition that typically starts after age 40 and worsens until age 65.

You may also have refractive errors like farsightedness, nearsightedness, or astigmatism, in addition to presbyopia.

What Causes Presbyopia?

The lens refracts or bends light that enters the eye to focus it directly on the retina, enabling you to see. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye.

When you’re younger, the lens is flexible and soft. A flexible lens changes shape easily when you shift your focus from objects at a distance to objects up close, allowing you to see clearly.

With aging, the lens loses its elasticity and becomes more rigid. The loss of elasticity makes it harder for the lens to change shape and focus on nearby objects. Consequently, close-up images appear out of focus.

What are the Symptoms of Presbyopia?

Presbyopia develops gradually. You may notice the following symptoms after age 40:

  • Blurred close-up vision
  • Need for brighter lighting when reading
  • Headaches or eyestrain from doing up-close work
  • Holding the phone and reading materials at arm’s length to see words and images clearly

How is Presbyopia Corrected?

If you only have presbyopia, reading glasses or readers can help improve near vision. Readers correct up-close visual problems by refracting light so that it focuses accurately on the retina.

Using reading glasses enables you to see things that are right in front of you. The good news is that you don’t have to wear reading glasses for the rest of your life.

If you’re tired of constantly reaching for your readers, looking for them throughout the house, and carrying them around, refractive lens exchange could be the solution you’ve been looking for.

What is Refractive Lens Exchange?

You can live a life with clear up-close vision without glasses and visual aids thanks to refractive lens exchange. Refractive lens exchange (RLE), also called clear lens exchange (CLE), is a procedure that involves replacing the natural lens with an artificial one called an intraocular lens (IOL).

There are different types of IOLs, and your ophthalmologist at Eye Physicians of Long Beach will help you choose one that best suits your vision needs and lifestyle. Premium IOLs can correct presbyopia and refractive errors, including nearsightedness, astigmatism, and farsightedness.

Refractive lens exchange is almost identical to cataract surgery. The main difference is that you don’t need a cataract to undergo refractive lens exchange.

Refractive lens exchange aims to correct refractive errors and improve your vision, significantly reducing or eliminating the need for glasses. Getting refractive lens exchange means you never have to worry about developing cataracts in the future.

Cataracts can only form on the natural lens and not on an intraocular lens, ensuring you can see clearly after removing the natural lens.

What Happens During Refractive Lens Exchange?

Refractive lens exchange can correct presbyopia and refractive errors so that light focuses correctly on the retina for clear vision. Before the procedure, you’ll have numbing eye drops applied to prevent any pain.

You may also receive medication to help you feel relaxed. You’ll remain awake throughout the procedure but only see general movements and light.

Your Eye Physicians of Long Beach surgeon will use a laser to create a tiny incision in your eye. This incision will enable them to reach your lens.

They’ll then use a special tool to break up your natural lens into small pieces. Next, they will suction out all the fragments.

After removing your natural lens, they’ll insert a new IOL to replace it and restore clear vision. The incision is tiny, doesn’t require stitches, and heals independently.

The outpatient procedure takes around 15 to 30 minutes.

What Should You Expect During Recovery?

The recovery time after refractive lens exchange is usually quite short. Most patients notice vision improvement within 24 hours of the procedure and completely recover within four weeks.

Refractive lens exchange has a very high success rate. Depending on the IOL you choose, it dramatically reduces or eliminates your dependence on glasses.

What are Your IOL Options with Refractive Lens Exchange?

Your lens choice depends on different factors, such as your visual needs, lifestyle, pre-existing eye condition, and budget. A wide range of presbyopia-correcting IOLs can help you achieve the best vision possible. They include:

Multifocal IOLs

A multifocal lens can help restore focus in all vision ranges: near, middle, and far, reducing or eliminating your dependence on readers. After refractive lens exchange with multifocal IOLs, you can read a menu, watch TV, and drive with minimal or no need for glasses.

Toric IOLs

A toric lens is designed to correct astigmatism. It can also correct presbyopia. One IOL that can do this is the Symfony toric IOL. Astigmatism is a refractive error that occurs when the cornea has an irregular shape.

The uneven curvature causes distorted or blurred vision at all distances. With a toric IOL, you can look forward to clear near vision without readers.

Accommodating IOLs

Accommodating IOLs can correct presbyopia, farsightedness, and nearsightedness. These IOLs mimic the flexibility of the natural lens.

They automatically shift the focus between seeing up close and far away and vice versa by responding to how the eye muscles contract. By choosing an accommodating IOL, you can decrease your reliance on reading glasses for many everyday activities, allowing you to engage in different tasks without a pair of reading glasses.

Light Adjustable Lens

The Light Adjustable Lens (LAL) is the only IOL that allows you to fine-tune your vision after having refractive lens exchange or cataract surgery. It corrects presbyopia, astigmatism, farsightedness, and nearsightedness.

Your surgeon will adjust this IOL post-procedure to fit your vision and lifestyle needs. With the Light Adjustable Lens, you can enjoy the freedom of crystal-clear vision without readers.

Achieve Sharper, Crisper Vision with Refractive Lens Exchange

Refractive lens exchange at Eye Physicians of Long Beach can help you correct presbyopia for good. We offer a range of premium IOLs that not only correct presbyopia but also treat astigmatism, nearsightedness, and farsightedness, leaving you with crisper, sharper vision.

Do you want to live a life without visual limitations? Schedule your appointment today at Eye Physicians of Long Beach in Long Beach, CA, to determine if refractive lens exchange is right for you.