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What is RLE?

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE), also known as Clear Lens Exchange (CLE), is a surgical procedure used to correct refractive errors in the eye, such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and presbyopia. It involves the removal of the eye’s natural crystalline lens and its replacement with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) to improve vision and reduce the need for glasses or contact lenses.


RLE is similar to cataract surgery, where the cloudy natural lens (cataract) is removed and replaced with an IOL. However, in RLE, the lens is replaced even when a cataract is not present, primarily for the purpose of vision correction.

Why does one need RLE surgery?

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) surgery is typically considered for individuals who have significant refractive errors (vision problems) and desire reduced dependence on glasses or contact lenses. Here are some common reasons why someone might opt for RLE surgery:

High Refractive Errors
Contact Lens Intolerance
Contact Lens Intolerance
Thin Corneas
Thin Corneas
Stable Prescription
Stable Prescription

RLE Procedure

The procedure generally involves the following steps:


  • Anesthesia: The eye is numbed using local anesthesia, typically in the form of eye drops.
  • Incision: A small incision is made in the cornea to access the lens.
  • Lens Removal: The natural lens is carefully broken into smaller fragments using techniques like phacoemulsification (ultrasound energy) or femtosecond laser, and the fragments are then removed from the eye.
  • IOL Implantation: An artificial intraocular lens (IOL) is inserted into the same space previously occupied by the natural lens. Different types of IOLs are available, including monofocal, multifocal, and accommodating IOLs, each offering different levels of vision correction.
  • Incision Closure: The incision is typically self-sealing and doesn’t require sutures.

RLE is often recommended for individuals who are not good candidates for laser eye surgeries like LASIK or PRK due to extreme refractive errors, thin corneas, or other factors. It is also commonly performed for individuals with presbyopia who wish to reduce their dependence on reading glasses.

Best RLE Surgery hospital

There are multiple good hospitals for cornea treatment in India including AIIMS, Sankara Nethralaya, LVPEI & Eye Mantra.  At Eye Mantra Hospital, we deal with a lot of problematic corneal cases daily. We have skillful and specialized surgeons who are highly experienced in dealing with several diseases linked to the cornea.  Eye Mantra Hospital is one among the few eye hospitals in the country that gives super-specialty eye services in Cornea.

We, at ​Eye Mantra Eye Centre, recognize the significance of the sense of vision for a fulfilled life and are dedicated to offering high-quality care for your eyesight

Our Team

Dr. Shweta Jain
Cataract, Retina, Glaucoma, LASIK
Dr. Neha Wadhwa
Dr. Lalit Chaudhary
Femtosecond LASIK
Dr. Poonam Gupta
Femtosecond LASIK

RLE Facilities


Individuals with high refractive errors, presbyopia, contact lens intolerance, stable prescriptions, or thin corneas can consider RLE for improved vision without glasses.

The eye’s natural lens is removed and replaced with an intraocular lens. Different IOL types can correct near, distance, or both vision issues.

Yes, RLE can correct astigmatism using specific intraocular lenses designed to reduce or eliminate this irregular corneal curvature.

RLE offers reduced dependence on glasses or contacts, improved vision, and potential freedom from age-related vision problems like presbyopia.

Initial recovery takes a few days, but complete healing might take several weeks. Vision improvements can be noticed shortly after the surgery.

Yes, both eyes can be treated in the same session or on separate days, depending on the surgeon’s recommendation and the patient’s health.

Insurance might cover RLE in cases where it’s medically necessary, such as for cataract removal. Vision correction for refractive purposes might not always be covered.

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