Refractive Procedures

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)

Using sophisticated procedures like refractive lens exchange (RLE, also called "Clear Lens Exchange") and with thousands of procedures behind him, our specialty-trained surgeon teams up with our experienced staff to restore vision loss due to the normal but frustrating aging process.

At age 40 or so, the eye’s natural lens loses its ability to flex (“accommodate”) to change focus from distance vision to read and see things up close. This loss of accommodation is called “presbyopia,” and it’s a normal part of the aging process. When this happens, you may need reading glasses or bifocals.

In a refractive lens exchange procedure, Dr. Fischer replaces the eye’s natural lens with an artificial lens implant with the correct vision correction prescription. A refractive lens exchange is very often performed during cataract surgery, but the same procedure can often be performed for a patient who does not have a cataract, to correct presbyopia, nearsightedness, and farsightedness.

RLE may be the procedure of choice for patients who are too nearsighted, too farsighted, or have corneas that are too thin for laser vision correction. It may also be a good alternative for those over the age of 40 who wish to be less dependent on reading glasses and bifocals, and for those who may be showing signs of developing cataracts.

The advantages of refractive lens exchange:

  • Very fast recovery
  • Excellent predictability of results
  • Excellent quality of vision
  • May be superior to LASIK for people age 40 or older

IOL Refractive Lens Exchange: Overview

How is the RLE Procedure Performed?

Dr. Fischer typically performs this procedure in our state-of-the-art outpatient surgery center in Willmar, Minnesota. The RLE procedure is the same as a cataract surgery procedure; the only difference is that the natural lens being replaced with an artificial intraocular lens is not cloudy.

Which Artificial Lenses are Available?

Dr. Fischer may recommend one of these lenses, depending on your vision needs:

  • Acrysof® ReSTOR®
  • Acrysof® Toric, for astigmatism
  • Visian® ICL, for high myopia