What Is Refractive Lens Exchange?
Seasoned ophthalmologist Dr. Young Choi is excited to offer refractive lens exchange (RLE), also known as lens replacement surgery, to correct common vision concerns. RLE is a surgical procedure that removes the eye's natural lens and replaces it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). This process helps improve refractive errors, such as age-related vision loss (presbyopia), farsightedness, and nearsightedness. RLE is a great treatment option for those who do not qualify for laser refractive surgeries, such as LASIK or SMILE. In addition, since RLE uses artificial lenses, it eliminates the possibility of cataracts developing on the natural lens of the eye. If you want to strengthen your vision and overall ocular health, call Young H. Choi, M.D. Eye Surgery Center today to schedule a private eye assessment and learn more about RLE. We have helped countless men and women in Vestavia Hills, AL and the Greater Birmingham area and look forward to serving you.
"Performed cataract surgery on both eyes 5 years ago. My vision improved markedly and has remained excellent to present. His O.D. Dr. Gregory is also excellent and the imaging test equipment including ultrasound is state of the art. They monitor my angle closure glaucoma every 4 months with pressures of 10 in each eye. Vision last appointment (March 2019) was 20/15. Not bad for 76 years old. Great doctors, great office!!!!!!"- Anonymous / Healthgrades / Apr 24, 2019
"Friendly and professional in both office and outpatient surgery hospital."- D. / Healthgrades / May 24, 2018
"Had Lasik surgery from Dr. Choi he was very professional and answered any questions. Was scheduled for surgery the following week. Surgery was quick and I'm in my third week of recovery. My eyesight went from a prescription -2.75/-3 to 20/20. Money very well spent. Would recommend anyone wanting or thinking about Lasik to him. Very nice man."- M. / Healthgrades / Jun 17, 2017
"Incredible experience! My local Optometerist sent me to see Dr Choi for Cataract Surgery and the care I received was top notch!"- T. / Wellness / Nov 09, 2016
"Dr. Choi is an excellent surgeon. I had cataracts removed and astigmatism corrected in both eyes. My vision is very good. My dependency on glasses has been greatly reduced. Great bedside manner - very calming, answers questions, spends plenty of time with patients. He even prayed with me before the surgery. Beautiful office. His office is always crowded and that is because of his excellent expertise and personality. Staff is OK. I do trust him to do further surgery if necessary."- G. / Healthgrades / Sep 08, 2016
who is a CANDIDATE for rle?
Generally, refractive lens exchange is recommended for adults with severe cases of nearsightedness or farsightedness who aren't eligible for laser eye surgery. It could also be recommended for patients whose corneal tissue is insufficiently thick for LASIK or similar kinds of laser refractive surgeries. The best way to determine if RLE is right for you is to set up a consultation with Dr. Choi at Young H. Choi, M.D. Eye Surgery Center. During this time, Dr. Choi can assess your ocular health and review your medical history to see if you are a good candidate for RLE. In addition, Dr. Choi can discuss all of your IOL options and which one may provide the most improvement to your vision.
how is rle performed?
RLE is identical to cataract surgery. The only difference is that patients who undergo RLE do not have cataracts but instead opt to replace the clear, natural lens of their eye with an IOL to improve their vision. This also reduces their dependence on reading glasses or bifocals. In addition, since we offer premium IOLs, most patients are able to achieve spectacle independence.
RLE is performed on-site at our Class-A facility as an outpatient procedure and generally takes about 10 – 20 minutes to complete. If you plan to get RLE for each eye, you will have to wait about 5 – 10 days between procedures.
Prior to beginning your surgery, we will administer medicated eye drops to numb the eye and often a gentle sedative to ensure optimal comfort. Dr. Choi will make a small incision in the cornea and use specialized technology to easily break up the lens and take it out. Next, he will implant the new artificial lens, which will fuse to the eye on its own without sutures.
What to Expect after surgery
Once the effects of the numbing eye drops wear off, you may experience slight irritation. This is normal and should dissipate over the next few days and can be easily alleviated with nonprescription pain relievers. Most patients can expect noticeable improvements in just a few days.
Over the course of the initial 4 – 12 weeks, you might experience episodes of blurry vision, glare or halos, sensitivity to bright light, inflammation, and increased eye pressure. These are considered typical, short-term symptoms of the recovery period. Dr. Choi will also schedule a series of follow-up exams over the next few weeks after your surgery to keep track of your healing progress.
Premium Lens Options
At Young H. Choi, M.D. Eye Surgery Center, we offer the following artificial lenses:
- Monofocal/Blended Vision Implants
- Trifocal Toric
During your initial visit, Dr. Choi will make a recommendation on which IOL will best suit your visual needs and personal preferences. We are proud to offer such a wide selection of IOLs to meet the diverse needs of our clients. Our overall goal is to provide safe, effective care to those who wish to achieve long-term improvements to their vision. To learn more about these premium IOLs, please visit our refractive cataract surgery page.
How much does RLE cost?
Refractive lens exchange is considered an elective procedure and is generally not covered by insurance. It is often more expensive than other laser vision correction surgeries, but we can review your treatment plan and estimate your costs during your initial consultation. Our office accepts many payment forms, including CareCredit, and offers flexible payment plans to help make your treatment more affordable.
Strengthen your vision
If you live in Birmingham or Vestavia Hills, AL and are tired of wearing glasses or bifocals to correct your vision, we invite you to call Young H. Choi, M.D. Eye Surgery Center. Dr. Choi can sit down with you to discuss all the benefits of refractive lens exchange (RLE) and determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure. Significantly decrease your dependence on glasses and the likelihood of developing cataracts with RLE. Reach out to our practice to set up your consultation.