Lens Based Refractive Surgery
In the last decade, a new technique for refractive surgery called Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) has grown rapidly, especially in individuals over 50. This technique was built on the 55 year history of successful lens implantation associated with cataract surgery. This procedure is, for all intents and purposes, the exact same procedure as cataract surgery, but is performed to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia instead of removing a cloudy lens (cataract).Invariably over age 50 there is some clouding of the lens, and this can often decrease the quality of results from corneal refractive surgery, such as NuSite™ Advanced Surface Ablation. RLE removes the cloudy lens replacing it with a perfectly clear intraocular lens implant (IOL). Also, over age 40 or so, presbyopia has taken away the focusing ability of the lens such that if corneal refractive surgery is done with both eyes set for distance, the patient will need reading glasses at some point. With RLE, the Crystalens™, a focusing lens implant, can be inserted which can give the patient good vision at distance, near and in-between without glasses.
Another lens based technique is the Visian ICL™, an intraocular lens implant that can be inserted into the eye behind the iris without having to remove the clear natural lens of the eye. This acts like an intraocular contact lens to correct higher levels of nearsightedness in patients under 40, who may not be good candidates for corneal surgery, such as NuSite™.