LASIK may be the most popular refractive surgery, but it is not the only option available to patients. Clear lens extraction (CLE), sometimes referred to as refractive lens exchange (RLE), is another procedure capable of correcting refractive errors.
CLE involves removing the eye’s natural lens and then replacing it with an intraocular lens (IOL). It is essentially the same procedure used to treat cataract patients, except that it aims to correct nearsightedness and farsightedness rather than cataracts.
Clear Lens Extraction Candidates
CLE is predominately performed on patients aged 40 or older. Once a person reaches middle age, the lens starts to change, making LASIK a less effective option. Fortunately, an IOL remains effective at any age. Moreover, IOLs are incapable of developing cataracts. Given that cataracts degrade the eyesight of nearly 50% of Americans by the time they are 75, having an IOL can be seen as a preventive measure.
LASIK is also inadvisable for patients who have severe myopia or have weak or misshapen corneas. In most cases, CLE remains a solid option to correct these issues while improving refractive errors.
During a consultation, the eye team at Laser Eye Center of Miami will examine the extent of the patient’s refractive errors as well as other factors to determine whether CLE, LASIK or an alternative procedure is the best way forward.
Clear Lens Extraction Procedure Details
Laser Eye Center of Miami offers multiple types of premium IOLs to best suit the needs of each patient. Ahead of the surgery, the doctor will perform vision tests to determine whether a monofocal lens (which usually improves nearsightedness) or a multifocal lens (which is capable of improving vision at many distances) seems appropriate. The patient’s preference and budget are also factors in this decision.
Just before the surgery, the patient receives anesthetic eye drops to numb the eye and minimize pain during the procedure. After making a small incision on the eye, the surgeon breaks apart the eye’s natural lens and removes it. Then the surgeon carefully inserts an IOL to take the place of the previous lens. This process is often completed in under 30 minutes.
Approximately one week later, the patient returns to the office to have the same procedure performed on the other eye. Each eye is done separately so that the patient never loses his or her entire vision while recovering. Spacing the surgeries also allows time to ensure that there have been no complications.
Refractive Lens Exchange Recovery
Within a few hours, the effects of the eyedrops fade away, allowing the patient to start seeing better out of the treated eye. However, the quality of vision will fluctuate somewhat for the first few weeks until the final results are achieved.
Patients should arrange to have a ride home from their surgery, and then commit to rest and relaxation for the first two days of recovery, putting off any strenuous activity including exercise.
Side effects, which are generally minor, include light glare and blurry vision. Some patients experience some discomfort after the anesthesia has worn off, but it can be managed with over-the-counter or prescription pain medication.
Speak to the Experts at Laser Eye Center of Miami
If you find the prospect of being able to ditch your prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses with a minor surgery to be appealing, then come speak to one of the most respected vision teams in southern Florida. To schedule a consultation, please call (305) 443-4733.