Is There Any Downtime After Refractive Lens Exchange?

When considering vision correction, you might immediately think of laser eye surgery like LASIK. However, you have other options with unique benefits. Refractive lens exchange replaces your natural lens with an artificial one. This new lens corrects your vision and may  offer several advantages over other methods. 

What is Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)? 

Refractive lens exchange (RLE) removes and replaces your natural lens. Your lens, a clear disc at the front of the eye, focuses light as it passes through. RLE replaces your lens with one that directs light to focus correctly on the retina. This new lens looks and feels the same as your natural one. In addition, your artificial lenses will never develop conditions like presbyopia or cataracts, which normally occur with aging. 

Laser Eye Surgery

How Does Refractive Lens Exchange Work?

The details of your refractive lens exchange procedure may vary. In general, your surgeon makes an incision along the edge of the cornea and creates an opening in the capsule containing the lens. Your surgeon removes the natural lens and replaces it with the artificial one, using precise measurements to ensure the correct placement. 

Is There Any Downtime After Refractive Lens Exchange?

Most people notice improvements in their vision within minutes of finishing the procedure. The new lens works immediately. You may experience irritation and glare for a few days, but eye drops will decrease these effects. You will usually be able to return to work within a week. The incisions require no sutures, and most people have an uneventful recovery. 

Am I a Candidate for Refractive Lens Exchange?

If you are 18 or older and want to correct your vision, you might be a good candidate for refractive lens exchange. People who make excellent RLE candidates include:

  • Those with a prescription too strong for laser vision correction
  • Those who cannot have procedures like LASIK due to thin corneas
  • Those seeking life-long vision correction
  • Those who want to avoid cataracts and presbyopia in the future

Candidates for RLE should have healthy eyes and reasonable expectations. People with RLE at a young age can expect a lifetime of maintenance-free vision correction. 

Request a Consultation

We’d love to help you get all the information you need in order to make the best choice for your eyes. Request a consultation today! Our staff is available and happy to answer your every question.

What are the Benefits of Refractive Lens Exchange?

Refractive lens exchange has several benefits over better-known vision correction options. These benefits include:

Rapid Results

You will not spend much time waiting for RLE results to appear. You may see a difference immediately. With a week of time off in exchange for a lifetime of vision correction, RLE lets you appreciate your results quickly. 


The artificial lenses used in refractive lens exchange will never harden or change. You will never need to remove these artificial lenses designed to last a lifetime. Unlike the results of LASIK, which change as you age, your vision with RLE will remain clear. 


Getting a refractive lens exchange can prevent vision problems in the future. As you age, you will normally develop presbyopia, a stiffening of the natural lens. You will also develop cataracts that cloud the lens and limit your vision. The lenses used in RLE never develop either of these conditions. 

I absolutely loved my experience with VisionMax. They have the most incredible staff, from start to finish they were so helpful and informative! I was nervous and Dr.Senekal talked me through the whole procedure, making me feel so comforted. It was over before I knew it (quite literally)! I cannot recommend going to VisionMax enough!

Take the Next Step

To learn more about refractive lens exchange, please schedule your consultation by either filling out the form on this page or by calling (780) 452-4111. We look forward to helping you!

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