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. 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.
Refractive Lens Exchange Reviews
"Dr. Choi did my tri-focal lens replacement in mid-January and I am very happy. My wife and I are saving to have hers done there as well. Healing has been exactly what the Dr. stated it would be. I was a tad impatient on the front side expecting miracles immediately and failed to realize the body needs time to heal. I was super pumped since I wore glasses for 37 years (this includes most of my childhood). Thank you Dr. Choi for opening up a new and exiting world to me. I would also like to state all of the staff is nothing short of excellent. Thanks to everyone."- J.H. / Google / Feb 23, 2021
"In November I had surgery to remove cataracts, and also wished to be free of wearing glasses so my stigmatism and nearsightedness were corrected with new trifocal and trifocal Toric lenses. The results were life changing to say the least. It's wonderful to be able to read, watch tv, and track my golf ball all without having to wear glasses. I'm almost 73 and I believe my "new eyes" have indeed enhanced the quality of my life. I give Dr. Choi and his staff five stars and an excellent rating. Dr. Choi was warm, personable and genuinely seemed concerned about improving my vision. He, along with his staff were very professional yet welcoming and friendly at the same time. I also appreciate their detailed efforts to adhere to the Covid-19 safety guidelines. My dealings with Dr. Choi and staff was a wonderful experience to say the least."- R.C. / Office Visit / Jan 13, 2021
"The best caring ophthalmologist you could see. Has done 2 types of surgery on me in the last 11 years. Very pleased with all my care. Also done surgery on my husband and he is also very pleased with his care. Excellent care ."- J.W. / Google / Nov 11, 2020
"You are in good hands with Dr. Choi. He has a rare gift. Not only as a highly skilled surgeon, but also as a kind, patient, caring physician. His kindness is reflected through his awesome staff. AND I CAN SEE! For the first time in my life, I can see the leaves on the trees, the individual flowers, my husband’s eyelashes! Without glasses! Thanks for a priceless gift."- J.D. / Google / Nov 09, 2020
"My mother was one of Dr. Choi's very first patients. She had an eye infection and during the night contacted Dr. Choi's office. At the time, he was on call and came to her house in the middle of the night to take her in his car to the office. He is a very special and caring person. I would not let anyone else touch my eyes but Dr. Choi. I am satisfied with my personal experience with his staff; and I like the fact that I was asked to wait in my car before seeing the doctor (due to COVID-19 precautions). I recommend Dr. Choi to my friends/family based on my experience. He is the best!"- K.M. / Office Visit / Nov 23, 2020
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.
What are the benefits of RLE?
Refractive lens exchange is a perfect option for men or women who are not candidates for standard laser surgery like LASIK and would still like to strengthen their vision. With RLE, you can get back to living your life without relying on visual aids. Refractive lens exchange also eliminates the possibility of developing cataracts since the natural eye lens is removed. Best of all, these benefits should last for the lifetime of the patient.
Other clear advantages of this advanced procedure include:
- Decreased dependency on glasses and contacts
- Many lens options available for personalization
- Little recovery time involved
- Improved quality of life
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.
Refractive Lens Exchange FAQs
Is refractive lens exchange safe?
Yes, refractive lens exchange is a safe procedure - just as safe as cataract surgery. Many studies have proven the safety and effectiveness of RLE surgery for patients across the spectrum.
Does insurance cover refractive lens exchange?
Refractive lens exchange is considered an elective procedure, therefore it usually isn’t covered by insurance plans.
Does refractive lens exchange hurt?
Dr. Choi will use anesthetic drops prior to the procedure, so typically most patients feel no pain or discomfort.
Is refractive lens exchange permanent?
Yes, artificial intraocular lenses are a permanent replacement for your eyes’ natural lenses and will last the rest of your life.
Will I still need to wear glasses after refractive lens exchange?
Whether or not you will still need to wear glasses depends on the type of lenses you get. For example, monofocal lenses are designed for distance, so you would still need to wear glasses for reading or close work.
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.
Five Lens Options For Refractive Lens Exchange
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What Is The Difference Between LASIK and RLE?
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