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Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)

  • Also known as Clear lens exchange or Lens replacement surgery.
  • The ideal patient: A 48+ – year-old patient with the need for good distance and near vision and with either no cataract or minimal cataract that is not Insurance-Grade.
  • Refractive Lens Exchange consists of surgically removing the natural lens and implanting a multifocal lens implant to correct vision near and far.

Background Information

  • As we age, the natural lens in our eyes gets cloudy causing fuzzy near, night and distance vision.
  • The earliest symptoms start with Presbyopia (the problem with near vision that starts at age 40).  These symptoms are part of Dysfunctional Lens Syndrome (DLS).
  • Eventually, the lens develops an Insurance-Grade Cataract and insurance approves Cataract surgery to fix the symptoms.
  • Unfortunately, cataracts do not become Insurance-grade until much later in life (the average age for Cataract surgery in the US is now 65).

The Insurance Conundrum

  • Insurance does not cover surgery for DLS. It only covers Cataract surgery for an Insurance grade Cataract and only covers a standard monofocal lens (which requires bifocals or trifocals in most cases).
  • If a Cataract patient elects to use a Multifocal lens implant to correct vision at near and distance vision, insurance will not cover this as they consider Multifocal lenses to be “cosmetic”.Thus, the patient pays out of pocket for the lens and its implantation.

The Problem: What does the patient age 48 to 65 do?

Couple visiting Guanajuato from lookout on the mountain. Mexico

The Solution: Refractive Lens Exchange

  • The patient can pay out of pocket for RLE to treat DLS and thus enjoy many more years of hassle-free vision.
  • Once RLE is performed, the patient will never need Cataract surgery.
  • This is really not an additional expense since the patient would need to pay out of pocket for a Multifocal lens at age 65 anyway.


Advantages of Refractive Lens Exchange

  • Vision can be corrected for near and far distance. LVC does not correct Presbyopia (near vision problems that start at age 40).
  • If you have RLE, you will never need Cataract surgery.

Disadvantages of Refractive Lens Exchange

  • More expensive than LVC (but we do offer 60-month financing**).
  • Since it is an intraocular surgery, it has the same risks as Cataract surgery, which is one of the most frequently performed and most successful surgeries in the US).

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*Insurance grade cataract is synonymous to a Visually significant Cataract that is approvable for Cataract surgery by an insurance company.

**With approved credit.

***Based on FDA approval clinical studies. **

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