Frequently asked questions

Refractive Lens Exchange Questions

Refractive Lens Exchange, here’s what to consider before electing for surgery. Read further to see how long the actual recovery time is for RLE patients.

Am I a suitable candidate for RLE?


RLE surgery may be for you if you:

  • are over the age of 40 and having difficulty focusing on objects up close
  • do not qualify for laser vision correction, such as LASIK, because you are either too farsighted or too nearsighted
  • are tired of wearing bifocals or progressive lenses for both reading and distance vision
  • struggle with night vision, have impaired depth perception and increased color distortion

How long is the recovery time for RLE patients?


The recovery time is 4 weeks in total after the surgery, during that time you will use eye drops and need to be more careful with your activity level. However, you can continue your daily activities from the day after surgery. Our doctors do not prescribe a leave of absence unless you work in a risky environment (heavy dust, contact sports, risk of being hit in the head or lifting heavy objects). Neuroadaptation after RLE surgery with monofocal lenses is usually several weeks, in the case of trifocal lenses the adaptation is usually longer.

What are monofocal lenses?


Monofocal Intraocular Lenses may provide the most benefit for patients with issues in both eyes.  A monofocal IOL is an intraocular lens with a fixed focus for one distance. The eye surgeon may select monofocal IOLs that are for near focus, or for distant focus. For example, you will be given monofocal lenses for long distance and then need only reading glasses after the surgery.

What are the side effects of trifocal lens replacement?


Following the surgery is the period of neuroadaptation. The majority of patients will take six months with some requiring up to one year to fully accept the change to their vision. During this time, you may experience the halo effect of lights at night. It is also possible to have a slightly lower contrast when reading, requiring more light. It may also take several months to properly focus on one of the distances. However, if you remain positive about the outlook and exercise your eyes, typically these issues dissipate.

Why would RLE be recommended to me over LASIK surgery?


If you are over the age of 40 years your vision may change requiring reading glasses for presbyopia. LASIK surgery cannot be performed when your vision prescription is changing. Therefore, RLE will be more suitable.

In patients under the age of 40 who have more serious disorders with both nearsightedness or farsightedness, ICL or intraocular contact lens is a suitable solution. If you have both presbyopia and moderate to severe hyperopia, RLE may be the only viable option for clear vision and minimal reliance on glasses after refractive surgery.

Will I need to have RLE (or cataract surgery) repeated later?


No, it is very rare to revise surgery after it has been completed. The surgery cannot be reversed as the natural lens is removed and replaced.  However, if a problem arises with the intraocular lens (IOL), certain aspects of the surgery can be re-done including repositioning or replacing it with a different lens.

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