Refractive Lens Exchange in Cape Coral, FL

About Refractive Lens Exchange

The Cataract & Refractive Institute of Florida has helped countless patients who are struggling with various refractive errors or visual impairments that negatively impact their overall vision. We offer a variety of treatments, including refractive lens exchange (RLE), which is typically reserved for patients who are over the age of 40 with age-related vision loss (presbyopia) or extreme cases of farsightedness. RLE is a procedure that carefully removes the existing lens on the eye and replaces it with an intraocular lens (IOL). The new lens lets light pass through the eye and focuses properly on the retina to restore clear vision. Board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. James Croley has extensive skill and experience in performing RLE and offers a variety of IOLs to address your unique needs and concerns. Reach out to our office in Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, or Bonita Springs, FL to learn more.

Best Candidates for RLE

Refractive lens exchange is generally recommended to men and women with presbyopia or severe farsightedness. It is also a great option for those who are not suited for LASIK or PRK surgery. Although RLE can be used to correct nearsightedness as well, it is generally not recommended over other minimally invasive procedures, like LASIK. RLE can also decrease the potential of patients developing a cataract since the damaged lens is removed and replaced with a new healthy lens. Corrective lens surgery can even eradicate mild cataracts or diseased lenses.

What Are the Benefits of RLE?

This procedure can offer many benefits for patients looking to improve their vision, including:

RLE Procedure

At the start of your procedure, your eye(s) will be numbed with specialized eye drops and a mild sedative will also be administered to make you as comfortable as possible. Then, Dr. Croley will make a tiny incision or opening in the side of the cornea and a pen-shaped instrument will be inserted to break up the damaged lens. The lens will then be suctioned out and the artificial or intraocular lens will be implanted. Since the incision is so small, the eye will heal naturally without the need for sutures. RLE is considered an outpatient procedure and typically takes about 15 minutes per eye. Most patients experience optimal results after about two weeks.

Follow-up After RLE

If you are having surgery on both eyes, each eye is done separately and surgeries are usually scheduled one week apart. Prior to your release, we will provide you with detailed aftercare instructions to follow to ensure the best results possible. You should also arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery. Most patients can resume driving after about a week from surgery. Most patients will experience mild discomfort after their procedure, but this is normal and should cease after a few days. It is also common to experience blurry vision, halos, or glares, but these symptoms will gradually improve over time. Follow-up appointments will be scheduled accordingly so we can closely monitor your healing progress, but if you have any questions during your recovery, do not hesitate to contact our office.


RLE is a trusted treatment, comparable to cataract surgery. As with any medical procedure, there are some risks involved, but in general, RLE has been proven to be safe for a vast majority of patients. Patients who have been searching for answers for their presbyopia or farsightedness will likely want to consider RLE as a safe, effective treatment option for optimizing their vision options.
Yes, a localized anesthetic is applied directly to your eyes for the duration of the procedure. This local anesthetic means that while you will be awake, you will not feel or experience any pain. RLE should take around 15 minutes, and since you will be awake, you should experience fairly immediate vision improvement after the procedure.
Many patients turn to RLE after being turned away as a candidate for LASIK, but other benefits of RLE make it appealing to a broader range of patients. Other reasons patients turn to RLE include the desire to see clearly without reading glasses or glasses and contacts or not yet having fully developed cataracts, among others. If you are experiencing some of the vision frustrations outlined above, contact your closest Cataract & Refractive Institute of Florida today to see if RLE is the right treatment option for you.

Long-Term Clear Vision

Refractive lens exchange can provide significant improvement to your visual acuity and can even reduce your dependence on prescription glasses or contacts. If you are over the age of 40 and are tired of struggling to see or constantly having to wear glasses, contact the Cataract & Refractive Institute of Florida in Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, or Bonita Springs, FL today. We can perform a full ocular assessment to determine if RLE is right for you. We look forward to serving you.