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
"I am so happy with the results of my first cataract surgery that I have already scheduled the one in my right eye. Everyone at Kirk is professional, compassionate, and wonderful."- J.B. / Google / Mar 03, 2022
"First class optical care. The best you can find. First Lipiflow machine in all Chicago. Especially love the dry care and top grade surgical team!Peggy Shearer"- P.S. / Yelp / Feb 27, 2022
"Dr. Kathleen Scarpulla may be new with Kirk Eye Center, but she’s been in private practice for a long time. She performed my lasik surgery in 1999 and later did my cataract surgeries. Her competent staff has been consistent throughout the years, and annual eye appointments are thorough. Anyone considering Kirk Eye Center should be comfortable and confident that there is no better choice for their eye care than Dr. Scarpulla."- J.B. / Google / Feb 24, 2022
"Dr Scarpulla and team are very thorough and professional. They explain everything in an understandable way and walk you through the entire process. I am very happy with the cataract surgery performed 3 years ago and am going to have my other eye done by Dr Scarpulla in the next few weeks."- E.M. / Google / Feb 18, 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.