Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)

Cataracts and Age-Related Dysfunctional Lens Syndrome
by Craig Bindi, MD

In our 20s and 30s, the lens of our eye is typically transparent and flexible, which allows light to pass through and the ability to focus on objects at various distances. However, the lens can naturally harden and become cloudy over time. As patients enter into their 40s, a natural process called Dysfunctional Lens Syndrome (DLS) occurs in various stages:

Stage 1

The beginning of DLS is commonly referred to as ‘presbyopia.’  This is the initial signs of the eye beginning to harden, and lose its flexibility. Patients may start to find it difficult to focus on things up close. This is typically the reason patients will start wearing reading glasses or bifocals.


Stage 2

Typically during ages of the 55 to 70, the lens of the eye gradually begins a natural clouding process, which causes light to scatter. Patients can experience glaring and halos (particularly at night), as well as overall reduced vision clarity.


Stage 3

Typically during the 70s, the lens of the eye has become cloudy enough that it is significantly impacting your vision and your daily life. It is almost like looking through a foggy window. This is the cataract stage where treatment is necessary to restore your vision to a functional level.


The Benefits of Refractive Lens Exchange

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE), an advanced outpatient procedure that replaces the dysfunctional lens with a clear lens implant. The RLE procedure can greatly improve vision quality, while also fixing the clouding of the lens. The focus power of lens implant is strategically selected to correct for refractive errors, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. In addition to getting rid of glasses, RLE is a permanent lens solution that prevents cataracts from developing in the future.