Understanding the basics of RLE
Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) or Clear Lens Extraction (CLE) is a surgical procedure used to correct myopia, hyperopia, and presbyopia (age-related farsightedness). Unlike LASIK and PRK, RLE removes the eye’s natural crystalline lens and replaces it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) to correct refractive errors.
Here are the basic steps of an RLE procedure:
- An anesthetic is applied to numb the eye.
- A small incision is made in the cornea, the clear outer layer of the eye.
- The natural lens is removed and replaced with an IOL.
- The incision is closed and allowed to heal.
RLE can be performed on one or both eyes, and the procedure takes 15-30 minutes per eye. Most patients experience improved vision immediately after the procedure and can return to normal activities within a few days. RLE can also prevent the need for cataract surgery in the future, as cataracts develop when the natural lens of the eye becomes cloudy.