These days, there are many different kinds of vision correction surgery. Your eye doctor can examine your eyes, evaluate the nature of your vision problems, and then recommend the surgery that best suits your needs. One such surgery your eye doctor might recommend is called RLE, or refractive lens exchange. Here are the key things to know if your doctor has recommended this surgery for you.
RLE involves replacing your natural lens.
Many vision correction surgeries involve reshaping your natural lens or cornea. This is true, for example, of LASIK and PRK. But RLE takes a different approach. In this surgery, your eye surgeon will remove your natural lens and replace it with an artificial lens made from a specific type of biocompatible plastic. This is similar to the procedure used to treat cataracts, except, in the case of RLE, your natural lens has not yet developed a cataract.
RLE is laser-based.
Laser-based vision correction surgeries do tend to be the safest and the most specific because the laser has a very low margin of error. RLE is a laser-based procedure, which should give you confidence in its safety and effectiveness. Your surgeon will program a laser to make the incision that removes your lens. Then, they will use special surgical tools to insert the new lens.
RLE works for severe vision problems.
RLE is usually recommended for the most serious of nearsightedness and farsightedness cases. If your doctor has recommended this surgery, it is because less intensive surgeries, like LASIK, can't achieve the results you need. For example, your corneas may be too thin to create the flap that must be created for LASIK. Or, your lenses themselves may be misshaped, which contributes to your visual difficulties.
RLE is fairly easy to recover from.
While this surgery does involve removing and replacing the lens of the eye, it is not that bad to heal from. Most people only have mild itching and stinging for a few days. You'll need to wear a patch over the eye for a week or two and wear sunglasses when you go outside. You'll also be given antibiotic eye drops to use in order to prevent an infection post-surgery.
Hopefully, this article has given you some basic insight into RLE and what it involves. If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to reach out to your eye doctor. They can give you more specific advice related to your eyes and health.
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