LASIK is a very popular vision correction surgery, but it isn’t the only one. In fact, there are several surgeries that can correct your vision.
One other popular correction surgery is RLE or Refractive Lens Exchange. But does it work as well as LASIK?
It depends almost entirely on the patient. Keep reading to learn more about RLE and LASIK!
LASIK involves using lasers to correct refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. The procedure consists of several steps. The first is to create a flap in the cornea and then shaping the corneal tissue under the flap to fit the patient’s precise prescription.
The flap is then put back in place and acts as a natural bandage while the eye heals. Many patients experience almost instant vision improvement after LASIK.
Vision only continues to improve as the eyes heal. Most patients who get LASIK end up with 20/20 vision or better. As with any procedure, there is no 100% guarantee of perfect vision.
Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)
Refractive Lens Exchange is a procedure that involves removing the natural lens and replacing it with an IOL, or intraocular lens. The artificial lens comes in several varieties.
Most artificial lenses exist to correct presbyopia, which occurs when the lens loses flexibility. This happens as a result of aging.
RLE is actually the exact same procedure as cataract surgery. The only difference is that it’s performed on a patient who may not have cataracts.
Since cataracts form in the eye’s natural lens, replacing the lens is the only way to treat cataracts. But even if you don’t have cataracts, you can have the lens removed and replaced to improve your vision.
Which Procedure Could Be Right for You?
There are benefits to LASIK and benefits to RLE. But they are largely meant to treat different visual problems.
While an IOL can be used to correct astigmatism or poor vision, IOLs are primarily used to correct presbyopia. Presbyopia only presents in older patients.
LASIK is best to have when you’re a young adult, as long as you’re at least 18 years old and have a stable prescription. Having LASIK at a younger age not only means faster recovery, but it also gives the patient more years to enjoy their improved vision.
LASIK does not prevent age-related conditions like presbyopia. As an older adult, patients with LASIK are still subject to declining vision. But even if you’ve had LASIK in the past, you can still have RLE.
RLE is also best for older adults because it eliminates the need to have cataract surgery. An IOL cannot develop cataracts like a natural lens can since it’s not made of biological material.
As most will develop cataracts at some point in their lives, having RLE will likely save you the trouble of cataract surgery later in life.
RLE is more invasive than LASIK since it involves going under the cornea where LASIK only affects the surface of the cornea. This does make RLE a bit more risky for older patients.
The risk is no greater than it is for cataract surgery, which is one of the most common medical procedures. As long as you are in good health and follow all instructions, the risk of complications is low with cataract surgery and RLE.
So does RLE work as well as LASIK? As far as outcome satisfaction goes, yes.
The big difference is that the procedures are best for different patients. Which one works best for you depends on your age and specific needs.
Interested in learning more about RLE or LASIK? Schedule an appointment at The Nielsen Eye Center in greater Boston now!
Call The Nielsen Eye Center and speak to one of our Patient Advocates about your vision correction options! Isn’t it time to see the world with clarity and focus?