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Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)

Replacing Your Lens

With refractive lens exchange, also called lens replacement eye surgery, a clear lens is implanted to replace your eye’s natural lens to correct your vision. The procedure is often used for pre-cataract patients, as a preventative vision correction solution.

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Condition Treated


Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a common type of refractive error where close objects appear clearly, but distant objects appear blurry.


Hyperopia, also known as farsightedness, affects nearly one in four people. Those with hyperopia can see distant objects very well but have difficulty focusing on objects that are close.


Astigmatism causes your vision to be blurred at both near and far distances. It occurs when your cornea is shaped more like a football than a basketball.


People with presbyopia often notice they need more light to read, and have to hold reading material at arm’s length to focus.

Client Testimonial

“I can see very well in the distance and up close and it fits my active lifestyle very well. I van now go surfing and backpacking without the inconvenience of contacts or glasses!”

- Carlton Chan | Optometrist

Common Questions About Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)

What conditions does refractive lens exchange treat?

If you have nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, even extreme prescriptions, and are over 40 years of age experiencing some degree of presbyopia, RLE could be your best course of treatment.

When should I consider refractive lens exchange?

You should consider RLE:

  • If you are dependent on reading glasses or bifocals for your near tasks
  • If you have a high level of farsightedness
  • If you have been diagnosed with early lens changes and feel that the quality of your vision has declined, but, do not as yet have a cataract

How soon will I be able to resume normal activities?

Although you will need a ride home from the procedure, you will be able to resume most normal activities within a few days—with most patients able to resume driving as well.

What does the lens feel like when it’s implanted?

Patients are unable to feel the IOL, and intraocular lens implants have been performed for more than 50 years.

Your Nearest Center

Eye Doctors of Washington

1016 16th Street NW Lower Level 100
Washington, DC 20036

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