Refractive Lens Exchange Surgery

Elderly couple embracing after Eye Surgery

Advancements in cataract surgery have led to new technology in lens replacement surgery designed to correct refractive error. As a result, Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) Surgery is very similar to cataract surgery but has multiple benefits that extend well beyond. RLE is a vision correction surgical procedure intended to reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contacts for people over the age of 50. RLE may be a better procedure for someone who is considering LASIK or PRK, but might be over the age of 50 years old.

For individuals over 50 who are considering refractive surgery to decrease dependence on glasses and contact lenses, RLE is an excellent option worthy of serious consideration. Like cataract surgery, this procedure involves removing the natural lens of the eye and replacing it with an intraocular lens (IOL) implant; such as a monofocal IOL, a multifocal IOL, a toric IOL or an accommodating IOL.

Cataract surgery is currently one of the safest and most frequently performed procedures in the world. The advantages of RLE include a very fast recovery, excellent outcome predictability and superior quality of vision.

Different Types of Intraocular Lenses

Different Types of IOLs


Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) Surgery is for those who:

  • Are over 50
  • Want to reduce or eliminate their dependence on glasses or contact lenses
  • Are both very nearsighted or farsighted with early cataract formation
  • Very nearsighted or farsighted
  • Want to treat presbyopia with a multifocal implant
  • Are looking for an alternative to LASIK

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) Surgery is performed in our in-office surgery suite, and only takes 5 to 10 minutes per eye. Each eye is operated on one week apart.

Upon arrival for your surgery, you will be given a mild sedative (usually Valium) and you will be given an anesthetic eye drop to numb your eye during the procedure. The skin around your eye will be thoroughly cleansed, and sterile coverings will be placed around your eye to keep the surgical area clean during the procedure. Your eye will be held open with an eyelid holder so you will not have to worry about blinking during the procedure.

Under an operating microscope, Dr. Ginsberg will create a tiny opening to the eye. The natural lens is gently fragmented and removed by the use of ultrasound with the assistance of a femtosecond laser. Then a plastic intraocular lens (IOL) is implanted to replace the natural lens that was removed. Dr. Ginsberg will determine which type of IOL is best for you – view our lens implants. The small opening in the eye closes without stitches. Vision typically begins to clear within a few days.

We are glad to offer no IV cataract surgery to our patients at Ginsberg Eye. We offer our cataract surgery patients the option to take a small capsule that contains the necessary medication for surgery instead of using traditional anesthesia that requires an IV. Our cataract surgeons also offer no needle cataract surgery, which eliminates the need for needles or injections near the eye during cataract surgery. View Video