By the time most of us reach our early 40’s, we begin to find ourselves holding books, menus, cell phones and newspapers away from our eyes in order to see them. We may sit further from our computer screens or struggle with sewing projects. We simply can’t make out words or details when they are close to our eyes. This condition is called presbyopia. Presbyopia is caused by natural thickening and loss of flexibility of the lens inside of our eyes. Much like a camera lens stuck in one place, our lenses become unable to fine-tune to see many of the details we were once able to see. In years gone by, our parents and grandparents had to accept these changes as part of getting older. Thankfully, we don’t. At Galanis Cataract and Laser Eye Center in St. Louis, Missouri, Refractive Lens Exchange is performed by Dr. John Galanis. Dr. Galanis has performed over 30,000 procedures and has been a pioneer in refractive eye surgery. With Dr. Galanis’ surgical expertise and today’s state of the art lens implants, there has never been a better time to undergo Refractive Lens Exchange.
Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) is a surgical option people are choosing to correct and restore vision. During Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE), Dr. Galanis replaces the eye’s natural lens with an intraocular lens (IOL) to correct vision (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia) and eliminate the need for cataract surgery in the future. The artificial lens will not age, thus providing visual stability. Not only is vision greatly improved, the positive changes are lasting. These IOL(s) are advanced technology lenses that restore distance and reading vision. Examples of advanced technology lenses are the Tecnis multifocal, Symfony Extended Range of Vision, ReSTOR and Crystalens. Dr Galanis has been implanting these advanced technology multifocal lens implants in St. Louis, Missouri since they became FDA approved.
Who is a Candidate for Refractive Lens Exchange?
RLE is an excellent solution for someone who is experiencing one or more of the following common visual changes:
- Difficulty reading without reading glasses or bifocals
- Difficulty seeing near objects
- Difficulty seeing while driving, especially at night
- Changing glasses prescriptions
- Diagnosed with early cataract formation
- High degree of farsightedness (hyperopia)
During your examination, Dr. Galanis will be able to assess if this is the best procedure for your eyes. RLE is a lifestyle choice to bring your normal activities into focus. Dr. Galanis will choose the lens that is right for you and that will best achieve your vision goals.
What to Expect on the Day of the Procedure
Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) is an outpatient experience. It is done on both eyes and usually takes 20-30 minutes to complete. You will be at the surgery center approximately 2.5 hours. Topical anesthesia (eye drops) are used with a mild sedative to prepare you for surgery. The natural lens is gently broken up by ultrasound into minute particles and removed from the eye and replaced with an intraocular lens that restores your vision. This no shot, no stitch, no patch procedure will eliminate the need for undergoing cataract surgery in the future. Patients are able to return to driving and normal routine activities in a couple of days.
Advantages of RLE
RLE can effectively correct high amounts of nearsightedness and farsightedness that may not be adequately corrected by LASIK. It also is a viable alternative to LASIK for eyes with corneas that may be too thin for laser vision correction or those who are otherwise not LASIK candidates.
Other advantages of RLE include:
- Rapid visual recovery
- The normal shape and thickness of the cornea remains unchanged
- The need for cataract surgery in the future is eliminated
- It provides stable vision with no risk of regression (loss of corrective effect)
- With multifocal IOLs, can correct presbyopia and greatly reduce or eliminate the need for reading glasses
- It enables people with mild cataracts to have refractive surgery.
RLE as an Alternative to LASIK?
Refractive Lens Exchange is a good alternative to LASIK for those who are over the age of 40-45. Since LASIK only corrects distance vision, not near vision after the age of 45. You will need reading glasses for help reading after LASIK but not with RLE with advanced technology lens implants.
Laser Cataract Surgery
Custom Bladeless LASIK
Routine Eye Exams
Dry Eye Treatment
Multifocal Lens Implants
Glaucoma Laser Treatment
Diabetic Eye Examinations