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Refractive Lens Exchange

Do you struggle to see things up close? Do you rely on reading glasses? You may be a good candidate for a procedure called refractive lens exchange, which is offered at Minnesota Eye Consultants.

What is Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)?

Refractive lens exchange (RLE) is a vision correction procedure that corrects age-related eye conditions like presbyopia. Presbyopia occurs when the eye’s natural lens loses its flexibility due to age. 

Refractive lens exchange can be particularly beneficial for patients experiencing presbyopia, an age-related condition where near vision becomes blurry. By replacing the natural lens with an IOL, refractive lens exchange can significantly enhance visual acuity across various distances, allowing patients to enjoy clearer vision without relying on external aids.

One of the primary goals of the procedure is to reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses. Each refractive lens exchange procedure is tailored to the individual’s unique eye anatomy and vision requirements. 

Selecting an IOL is based on factors such as the patient’s refractive error, corneal curvature, and lifestyle preferences, ensuring optimal visual outcomes.

Who is a Good Candidate for Refractive Lens Exchange?

Refractive lens exchange might be an option for people over 40 who have blurry vision due to nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. It can also be a good choice for people with early-stage cataracts

However, refractive lens exchange isn’t suitable for everyone. Your eye doctor will perform a complete exam to determine whether you qualify.

Candidates for refractive lens exchange should be in good health, without eye conditions like glaucoma or cataracts, and free from conditions that affect healing. You must also have realistic expectations about the procedure’s outcomes and understand the potential risks involved.

You need a stable prescription that’s remained unchanged for a year or more. During the consultation process, your eye doctor will assess your prescription stability to ensure optimal results from the procedure.

How Does Refractive Lens Exchange Work?

During refractive lens exchange at Minnesota Eye Consultants, your surgeon makes a tiny incision in your eye. Then, they gently remove your natural lens. 

In its place, they implant an artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL). This IOL is like a tiny, clear implant that acts like your new lens.

Before the procedure, you’ll undergo a thorough assessment to measure your eyes’ dimensions and determine the correct lens power needed. You’ll also receive instructions on pre-operative care, such as refraining from eating or drinking for a few hours before the procedure.

What Can I Expect During the Procedure?

Refractive lens exchange is usually performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning you’ll go home after it’s over. You’ll be awake during the procedure and may receive medication to help you feel relaxed and comfortable.

Refractive lens exchange usually takes 15-30 minutes per eye to complete. Advanced technology breaks up and removes the natural lens. 

Then, your surgeon will insert the IOL through the same incision. There are no stitches or sutures used, ensuring a short and comfortable recovery. 

After refractive lens exchange, you’ll rest briefly in the recovery area. You won’t be able to drive home after the procedure, so you must have someone to drive you home. You’ll receive instructions on how to care for your eyes from your ophthalmologist. This will include using prescribed eye drops and avoiding strenuous activities as directed.

How Much Does Refractive Lens Exchange Cost?

How much refractive lens exchange costs can vary depending on who performs your procedure, your area, and the IOL you choose, as some IOLs have an out-of-pocket expense. Unlike some vision correction procedures, insurance typically doesn’t cover refractive lens exchange because it’s considered elective surgery. 

Talk to your eye doctor about the costs involved and your payment options. However, financing is available starting as low as $220/month!

Recovering After Refractive Lens Exchange

After refractive lens exchange, you may notice that your vision is blurry. This is normal and will improve over the next few days. 

You’ll receive post-operative care information detailing how to care for your eyes after surgery, such as using eye drops and avoiding rubbing them. Most people recover from refractive lens exchange within a few days and can quickly return to normal activities.

Do you think you could be a good candidate for refractive lens exchange? Learn more about this procedure by requesting a consultation at Minnesota Eye Consultants in Minneapolis, MN, today!


Serving Our Community

Minnesota Eye Consultants is proud to offer patients convenient access to eye care across the Twin Cities. We have 5 locations, each with an onsite ambulatory surgery center (ASC).

11091 Ulysses St NE
Clinic: Suite 300
ASC: Suite 400
Blaine, Minnesota 55434
Additional Blaine Information
12501 Whitewater Drive, Suite 310
Minnetonka, MN 55343
Additional Crosstown Information
10709 Wayzata Blvd
ASC: Suite 100
Laser Procedures: Suite 120
Clinic: Suite 200
Minnetonka, MN 55305
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9801 Dupont Ave S
ASC: Suite 100
Laser Procedures: Suite 120
Clinic: Suite 200
Bloomington, MN 55431
Additional Bloomington Information
7125 Tamarack Rd
Clinic: Suite 100
ASC: Suite 200
Laser Procedures: Suite 250
Woodbury, MN 55125
Additional Woodbury Information