Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)

What is Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)?

Refractive Lens Exchange or  Refractive Lens Replacement is a newly-adopted type of vision correction surgery for some patients suffering from presbyopia or hyperopia (farsightedness). LASIK and PRK are also very successful solutions for these conditions, however, RLE may better suits some patients.

The refractive lens exchange vision correction procedure is when the eye’s lens is removed and replaced with a new multi-focal intraocular artificial lens. The procedure is also sometimes referred to as “Clear Lens Extraction or CLE” or “Clear Lens Exchange”. RLE surgery is basically the same as cataract surgery. But, in these patients’ cases, the lens are replaced to change the refractive properties of the eyes rather than to remove clouded lens, which is what cataracts are.

RLE is generally reserved for people who are not good candidates for laser procedures such as LASIK and PRK surgery. Typically, the RLE procedure is a better fit for patients that suffer from extreme amounts of farsightedness and nearsightedness which may not be adequately corrected by the traditional LASIK and PRK procedures.

The newest interocular lens that are available today allows Dr. Roberts to correct a patient’s vision in varying ways depending on each patient’s unique vision needs.

Lens Options:

Mono-focal IOL –  A mono-focal IOL is an intraocular lens with a fixed focus for one distance. Dr. Roberts may select mono-focal IOL that are for near focus, for mid-distance focus, or for distant focus. Only one of these options can be selected and the focus will not change.

Multi-focal IOL – Multi-focal IOL are designed to allow patients to see up close, far away, and all distance in between. Many patients who are candidates for these types of IOL will find they can be contact lens and glasses-free. In some cases, some patients may only need reading glasses occasionally for reading fine print in low lighting.

It is important to know that all of the IOLs are of the same quality. Dr. Roberts will perform all the necessary eye examinations and tests to determine which IOL lens is best for you to achieve your vision goals.


Who is a candidate for Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)?

Typically, patients that are over the age of 40 years of age and suffer from hyperopia, presbyopia and are not recommended candidates for LASIK or PRK laser surgery. Many patients that are very unhappy with wearing contact lenses or glasses to achieve clear vision will choose RLE instead. Generally, RLE patients are in good health and have otherwise healthy eyes. It is very important that RLE candidates understand that in some cases glasses or contacts are occasionally needed for some activities following the RLE procedure.


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The RLE Procedure

The refractive lens exchange is performed on one eye at a time typically, a week or two apart. The replacement surgery takes about 10 – 15 mins and is performed as an outpatient. Anesthetic is used to numb the eye and patients feel no discomfort during the procedure. It is typical for patients to experience vision improvement several hours after surgery. Recovery takes about a week, at which time patients can resume normal activities. The IOL that is implanted in your eye will not be felt or even noticed to others. The new IOLs are a permanent replacement for your eyes lenses.

RLE Results

Refractive lens exchange is a very advanced-technology vision correction procedure. Dr. Roberts uses the most advanced instruments available in the field, using precise calculations which allows for an exact refractive correction measurement for each patient’s eye. Typically, Dr. Roberts patients that undergo the RLE procedure are very pleased with their results and many achieve 20/20 vision or better.

It is very important that each patient fully understand that with any medical procedure come risks. Though the risks from RLE surgery are very small, there are risks. Dr. Roberts will discuss any concerns you may have and will explain exactly what your risks are prior to your procedure. Refractive lens exchange is an invasive surgery and has higher risks and possible complications when compared with the other vision correction procedures available today.

Our Practice

At Shady Grove Ophthalmology, we understand the importance of your vision. Dr. Anthony O. Roberts is committed to using some of the most advanced technology available for vision correction, cataract removal, and treatment of eye disease. With innovative laser systems, multi-focal intraocular lens implants, and state-of-the-art techniques for cataract surgery, Dr. Roberts aims to give all of our patients the safest, most effective eye treatments. Our entire office staff prides itself on delivering personalized premium quality eye care to all our patients.

Our Patients Say It Best...

Dr. Roberts and his staff are amazing!!!!

"Dr. Roberts and his staff are amazing!!!! From my 1st call to make an appointment to my post-op cataract appointment, he and his staff were helpful, friendly and patient. I am so happy to have found Dr. Roberts. After many years of blurry vision, he totally corrected it. This office was a true find. I would absolutely recommend Dr. Roberts."

- Karol W.

My experience was phenomenal...

"My experience was phenomenal, all the staff is friendly. Dr. Roberts treated me well, was very helpful in explaining the process. I would highly recommend anyone to Dr. Roberts. Thank you for giving me a new view of life."

- Henry

I highly recommend Dr. Roberts...

"I highly recommend Dr. Roberts he did an excellent job on my LASIK surgery!"

Manuela G.

20/20 vision restored one day after surgery...

"Dr. Roberts was wonderful. I was treated for a cataract which had significantly reduced vision in my right eye. Dr. Roberts walked me through what to expect with the surgery beforehand. The surgery was completely painless and took less than 30 minutes. I now have my pre cataract 20/20 vision restored one day after surgery. I can highly recommend Dr. Roberts and his team!"

Robert H.

Dr. Roberts was incredibly knowledgeable...

"Dr. Roberts was incredibly knowledgeable and accommodating through my LASIK evaluation, procedure, and post-op. I would absolutely recommend him."


Dr. Anthony Roberts is a great doctor...

"Dr. Anthony Roberts is a great doctor-competent and friendly. His office staff is courteous and accommodating. I had cataract surgeries in both my eyes with laser and could not be more satisfied! I highly recommend Dr. Roberts."

Rakesh Bansil, M.D.

The office staff was so professional...

"The office staff was so professional and courteous and the doctor was very reassuring about post-operative progress so happy with results!"

Suzanne T.

I am very satisfied...

"I am very satisfied with the fantastic surgery work of Doctor Anthony Roberts. I didn’t feel any pain at all during and after the surgery., Now, everything is sharper and no blur and no glare. I will really recommend him to friends & family. I will ask him to do my right eye! Thank you so much, Dr. Roberts."

Alphine R.

I can see better than I have in years...

"Dr. Roberts did cataract surgery on my left eye and I can see better than I have in years. The procedure was so quick and easy. The surgery center was great Dr. Roberts is very professional yet friendly and easy to talk to. His office staff is excellent. I never had a problem getting an appointment and have never waited long in the office."

Jane G.

Dr. Roberts’ a very warm and easy going doctor...

"Dr. Roberts’ a very warm and easy going doctor. He did my LASIK procedure and then followed up with me that night to make sure everything was ok. I would definitely recommend him to anyone that wants LASIK done. Thanks, Dr. Roberts!"

Wendi C.

Cataract surgery with Dr. Roberts and couldn’t be more satisfied with results...

"Had cataract surgery with Dr. Roberts and couldn’t be more satisfied with results, my vision was 20/20 already the day after surgery. Was impressed that Dr. Roberts followed up the evening after surgery with a phone call to see how I was doing. Would highly recommend Dr. Roberts for his professionalism and use of latest technology. The office staff is also professional, thorough and very helpful. Great overall experience."

Pete A.

I had a really positive experience at Shady Grove Ophthalmology...

"I had a really positive experience at Shady Grove Ophthalmology. I had PRK surgery. Dr. Roberts explained the process and walked me through everything during the surgery. He even called me on a Sunday evening to follow-up with me making sure I was feeling okay after the surgery. The front office staff was also friendly. I definitely recommend Dr. Roberts!"

- Sharon C.

The outcome exceeded my expectations...

"I can't say enough about how professional, knowledgeable and kind Dr. Roberts is. I had cataract surgery and was nervous about the procedure. He immediately put me at ease when he explained the process and assured me that it would go well. I felt comfortable asking him questions and he answered them with a great amount of respect, understanding, and patience. The outcome exceeded my expectations. I also loved and appreciated his caring staff. I highly recommend Dr. Roberts. Super grateful for the excellent work he does!"

Robin G.

We hope you and your loved ones are in good health. While many things have changed as the COVID-19 virus continues to spread, one thing remains the same: our commitment to your safety.