Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) is an advanced
surgical procedure that can restore your vision over the long term—often allowing patients to see clearly without glasses or contact lenses. At Porter Ophthalmology, our experienced surgical team has an unparalleled history of helping adults (typically age 45 or older) with vision disorders through corrective RLE surgery.

RLE lenses come in three types:

  • Monofocal
  • Extended Range
We will conduct a thorough eye exam and determine which IOL is right for you based on your vision needs

Why RLE?

RLE is a newer option for adults suffering from age-related focus dysfunction, but who are not good candidates for other corrective procedures, such as LASIK, PRK, or ICL surgery. Unlike LASIK, which involves reshaping the cornea, RLE replaces the eye’s natural lens with a new intraocular lens (IOL). It is a proven, time-tested procedure that in the vast majority of individuals provides long term vision correction. Best of all, it is a quick, safe procedure, nearly identical to cataract surgery, and has a fast recovery period.


  • Long term vision correction
  • Reduces the need for corrective eyewear
  • Quick procedure—less than 30 minutes per eye
  • Designed for age-related focus dysfunction (presbyopia), nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism
  • Relatively pain-free procedure
  • No need for future cataract surgery
  • Stability over time
  • Relatively quick recovery—between 1-3 days typically
  • It is a safe procedure (similar to cataract surgery)


Am I a candidate for refractive lens exchange (RLE)?
Generally, patients who are 18 years old or older with a stable prescription and healthy eyes may qualify. RLE is excellent at correcting myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. It is an especially great option for patients in their 40s/50s/60s who are experiencing presbyopia or the need for reading glasses.

Our doctors will determine if you qualify for RLE during our free vision correction evaluation. As technology continues to advance, more patients qualify for vision correction surgery now than ever before. This includes many people who may have been told that they are not candidates in the past.

Is RLE the right procedure for me?
During our free vision correction evaluation, we will examine your eye and take advanced measurements to get a full picture of the health of your eyes. Our doctors use this information to recommend the best procedure for your eyes and your vision goals.

The good news: Porter Ophthalmology offers its patients all five of the latest vision correction procedures – LASIK, SMILE, PRK, ICL and RLE. This means more patients qualify than ever before and our doctors can recommend the absolute best procedure for you.

How fast is the recovery from RLE?
The RLE procedure has a quick recovery that is similar to LASIK. Your vision may be slightly blurred for the first few days following the procedure and you may experience some mild scratchiness or irritation of your eyes. Within a few days, any eye discomfort typically resolves and the vision is significantly improved. Most people are able to return to work either the next day or the day after following the RLE procedure.
Is RLE safe? Are there any risks or side effects of RLE?
RLE is a safe and effective option for vision correction. The procedure is very similar to cataract surgery which is one of the most common and successful procedures performed annually in the United States. At Porter Ophthalmology we use the LenSx® femtosecond laser during RLE to provide our patients with the most precise and accurate results.

Some of the more common side effects after RLE include mild eye irritation or light sensitivity. Fortunately, these side effects are usually temporary and improve within days after treatment. Serious complications of RLE are extremely rare.

Is the RLE procedure painful?
During the procedure we use numbing drops on the eye that prevent the sensation of anything sharp or painful. At times there may be pressure on the eye or the sensation of touch or drops on the eye but these are minimal.
Do I have to hold my eyes open during the procedure?
At the beginning of the RLE procedure we will help you to relax and open your eyelids. From that point on a small eyelid holder will gently hold your eye open for the duration of the procedure so that you don’t have to worry about blinking.
Is RLE a permanent treatment?
A common misconception of vision correction surgery is that the effect wears off with time. In reality, we expect the vision correcting effect of RLE to last forever.
Is RLE covered by insurance?
Usually no, although we have seen some very rare instances where insurance plans pay for part of the cost of vision correction surgery. At Porter Ophthalmology, we offer flexible spending plans or interest-free financing options that can be a great way to make RLE more affordable.

Download our FREE Laser Vision Correction Patient Guide

If you think you’re ready to open your eyes to a clear world every morning, without contacts, glasses, or squinting…

Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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