RLE (refractive lens exchange) is the most suitable surgical option for age-related vision loss. It is also an option for severe myopia, severe hyperopia and severe astigmatism.

RLE is similar to modern cataract surgery, where the natural lens is replaced with a permanent intraocular lens.

RLE is often recommended for patients over the age of 50 years, as the natural eye lens begins to become dysfunctional causing presbyopia.

There are three types of intraocular lenses available:

  • Monofocal or single focus lenses which focus at either near, intermediate or far distance
  • Multifocal lenses which focus at both near and far distance
  • Extended Depth of Focus lenses which focus at all distances.

Both eyes cannot be treated with RLE at the same time but they may be treated one to two weeks apart.

RLE (refractive lens exchange) Surgical Procedure

The RLE Implant Surgical Procedure

  • The eye is first numbed with anaesthetic eye drops
  • The natural lens is removed from the eye through a small incision

  • An artificial lens is implanted through the same incisions. Sometimes a laser is used for parts of the operation.
  • The RLE procedure usually takes around 15 minutes. Following the procedure an eye patch is placed over the eye to maintain cleanliness as the eye heals.

Vision correction with RLE is achieved immediately, recovery takes just days and optimal vision is usually achieved within four to six weeks.


Key Benefits of RLE’s

ICL – Implantable Contact Lens

Implantable Contact Lens (ICL)

ICL (implantable contact lens) is a contact lens implanted inside the eye, over the existing lens, leaving the natural lens in place.

ICL offers a reversible option and is used for higher corrections, or for those not suitable for laser eye surgery.

Learn More