What Is Refractive Lens Exchange?
The ocular specialists at Kirk Eye Center are pleased to perform RLE (refractive lens exchange) for Chicago area patients. RLE is technically the same thing as cataract surgery, though the patient doesn't have cataracts. With RLE, the existing lens is replaced with a customized IOL (intraocular lens) to correct or significantly reduce certain kinds of refractive issues and enable crisp vision at multiple distances. RLE is often an excellent treatment method for individuals who live with abnormally severe degrees of myopia or hyperopia and who may not be eligible for more common refractive vision surgeries. Moreover, the artificial lens cannot develop cataracts so RLE alleviates that concern. Contact Kirk Eye Center in River Forest or Gurnee, IL to arrange your eye assessment.
Is Refractive Lens Exchange Right for Me?
Generally, RLE is recommended for those with profound levels of myopia or hyperopia that can't be treated with laser refractive procedures. Refractive lens exchange could also be used for patients whose corneal tissue is not thick enough for LASIK or alternative popular types of laser eye surgery. Once you've had your initial visit to Kirk Eye Center, we will establish the best kind of IOLs for your specific refractive error needs. The premium IOLs are then individually crafted.
"Great overall experience with my Lasik procedure for both my eyes. Dr. Kirk & the staff were fantastic throughout the entire process. I'm so pumped that I don't have to wear contacts or glasses ever again!"- B.M. / Google / Jun 19, 2020
"Although I am fairly young, for some reason my eyes started to develop cataracts. Getting to a point when driving my car became a dangerous adventure, after a thorough search on internet I have opted for cataract surgery at Kirk Eye Center. I wasn’t disappointed, everything there was top notch! Starting from the receptionists to the nurses, I was always treated in a very professional and courteous manner. Many thanks to Ms Joyce Wolter, the surgery manager who helped me going through all the paperwork and dealed with my insurance! She made everything look easy to me! All my life since childhood I’ve had poor vision but now after my right eye surgery I have 20/20 vision! It feels like I am reborn, all these vibrant colors and multitude of details I have never been aware before! Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Dr Scott Kirk! You gave me the best gift! We all take for granted the vision and we realize that only after we lose it! Note: I have opted for premium IOL’s, I wanted for my eyes the best I can get. They are quite expensive and not covered by insurance, but I can personally state that they worth every penny! I cannot wait for the left eye surgery a week from today!"- G.R. / Google / Sep 22, 2022
"Dr Kent Kirk and the entire staff are amazing.They are caring, well organized and I had a fantastic resultMy sight in my right eye went from just barely being able to see the big E on the eye chart to 20/25 visionJust incredible!!!Thank you Dr Kent Kirk and staff I could not be happier Getting ready to do my second cataract surgery and I would NOT use anyone else but Kirk Eye Care!!!They know what they are doing and do eye care extremely well!!"- I.D. / Yelp / Sep 13, 2022
"I don’t think words can express the gratitude I feel towards Dr. Kirk and his incredible office and surgical staff for all that they did for me. I had ICL surgery done last month and it has been life changing. Dr. Kirk was informative, helpful and answered every single question I had before and after surgery. The timing of my recovery overlapped with some personal plans, and Dr. Kirk and his staff went out of their way to still schedule my first few appointments on days and/or times that they don’t normally schedule patients in order to ensure that everything looked and felt good after the procedure. I couldn’t believe how kind and thoughtful they all were. Not only am I still in awe of having perfect vision again, I will forever be grateful to Kirk Eye Center for everything they did for me. I highly recommend Dr. Kirk and the ICL surgery!"- K.S. / Yelp / Sep 02, 2022
"As a new patient, I had my first opportunity to visit the Gurnee, IL office of ophthalmologist, Dr. Tyler Quentin Kirk. It took some weeks to get the appointment, but I waited patiently and was rewarded this morning with a sense of calm that let me know I was in the right place. From the welcoming voices on the phone and at the front door; during my exams and explanations; to our good-byes, I would like to thank Dr. Kirk and his wonderful staff. Janely, my 'first responder,' with whom I spent the most time, and all the other girls who assisted me or with whom I interacted: Miki, Mary, Val, Wendy, and Julissa. Hope to see you soon."- B.K. / Google / Sep 01, 2022
How is RLE Performed?
Kirk Eye Center performs refractive lens exchange as an outpatient surgery that usually lasts about 15 minutes; however, if you plan to get new lenses for each eye, you should wait at least seven days between procedures. On the day of your surgery, we will administer special eye drops to numb the eyes and sometimes a soothing anesthetic. Dr. Kirk will create an exceptionally tiny incision in the corneal tissue and use laser or ultrasound technology to delicately disintegrate the patient's existing lens and remove it. Then, he will implant the premium lens in its place using the same small incision, which will heal quickly on its own.
What Results Can I Expect from Refractive Lens Exchange?
When the eye drops fade away, you could notice some slight irritation, but this will only linger about 48 hours. Most people who opt for RLE begin to enjoy their improved vision in only 1 – 4 days, and many of them will greatly lessen or put an end to their reliance on corrective eyewear. Over the course of the initial 4 – 12 weeks, you may experience some occasional blurry vision, glare, and dryness. We will plan ongoing, very important follow-up visits in the weeks after your RLE surgery to watch your recovery progress.
Refractive lens exchange FAQs
Is refractive lens exchange safe?
Yes, refractive lens exchange is a safe procedure. However, as with any surgery, there are risks involved. These risks increase if you don't follow our detailed recovery guidelines or instructions. It's important to discuss the risks and benefits of surgery with the specialist at Kirk Eye Center before you decide if this is right for your needs.
Is refractive lens exchange permanent?
Refractive lens exchange guarantees that problems like cataracts will not occur in the future, but it is not considered a permanent procedure. If you need your lens replaced at a later date because of an injury or other condition, this procedure can be repeated if needed. Our River Forest, IL, staff can discuss your unique situation and options with you.
Do I still need to wear glasses after surgery?
Most patients who have undergone refractive lens exchange no longer need to wear glasses. In some cases, a very mild prescription may be required for reading or near tasks. It depends on your individual prescription and the IOLs chosen at the time of surgery.
Long-Term Clear Vision
Refractive lens exchange at Kirk Eye Center is an exciting elective surgery that could significantly improve not just your eyesight but your general outlook on life. For adults who aren't candidates for LASIK or PRK, RLE can reduce or eliminate the dependence on glasses, as well as the likelihood of developing cataracts. Contact our River Forest or Gurnee, IL location to schedule your evaluation.