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If you have presbyopia, the inevitable loss of reading vision in your mid forties, or farsightedness (hyperopia), you may know that LASIK or other forms of laser vision correction are not ideal treatments for age-related farsightedness. It’s frustrating when you are limited by glasses or contacts but cannot have laser eye correction to correct your eyesight. Thankfully, refractive lens exchange, or lens replacement surgery, is an innovation in laser eye surgery that allows for the replacement of the dysfunctional lenses. The procedure is similar to cataract surgery, and involves lens replacement to treat cases of presbyopia, although you do not have to wait for your cataracts to fully develop if you are interested in vision correction. In addition, this procedure has become very popular due to the fact that it prevents cataracts, as the replacement lens implant is permanent and does not age.

The Waring Vision Institute in Charleston, SC is well-known for its advanced treatments for age-related loss of reading vision. Dr. Waring is responsible for aiding in much of the development and research related to presbyopia, the first stage of the “dysfunctional lens syndrome” and the effective treatments for this condition.

If you are looking for info regarding Implantable Contact Lenses click here.

Determining Candidacy

Refractive lens exchange (RLE) is usually best suited for those who are not good candidates for LASIK or other form of laser surgery. Sometimes RLE is the only option for those who have presbyopia and moderate to severe hyperopia (farsightedness). There are many different types of laser vision correction available, but you may be a good candidate for RLE if:

  • You’re over 40
  • You have moderate or severe hyperopia
  • You have presbyopia and want to reduce the need for glasses or contacts
  • You want an alternative to LASIK or are not a good candidate for this treatment

A full disclosure of your medical history is important in any eye surgery or treatment. Certain medical conditions or prescription medications may pose the risk of complications for RLE. Dr. Waring can advise you if RLE is right for you, or another advanced treatment will be appropriate for your case.

Refractive Lens Exchange Procedure

Before the procedure begins, our ophthalmologist will sterilize your eye and provide an anesthetic eye drop solution to numb your eye to prepare it for surgery.

The surgeon will make a small incision to access the natural lens. A laser is typically utilized to gently create the openings, soften the dysfunctional lens, and often treat astigmatism . Once the lens is removed, it is replaced with an intraocular lens (IOL). There are four types of intraocular lenses:

  • Extended Depth of Focus IOLs have the unique advantage of elongating the focus continuously from distance to intermediate tasks such as the dashboard of the car, the computer and often smart phones and tablets, particularly if the font is enlarged. These lenses tend to create the best balance of quality of vision for intermediate and some near tasks. Occasionally a low power over-the-counter pair of reading glasses may be helpful for very small print or low light reading conditions.
  • Multifocal IOLs work similarly to bifocal lenses on glasses. Around the periphery of the lens, a correction is made to allow for clarity when reading or doing other close-range activities. The middle of the lens is calibrated so that your central vision is still clear for distance ranges.
  • Monovision IOLs only allow for one “focus” although clients will get a different lens for each eye. The dominant eye will receive a lens designed for seeing distance while the non-dominant eye retains the ability to see close objects. A similar practice is sometimes used for contact lenses, and over time, the brain learns to favor a certain eye for specific activities.
  • Accommodating IOLs are monofocal lenses, but the client can change the focus of the lens by shifting its position in the eye.

You and Dr. Waring can discuss which type of IOL is right for you based on your eyesight and any special needs and the advanced ocular analysis. Health insurance does not cover refractive lens exchange, like it does not cover LASIK, and those who want to take advantage of the advances in refractive lens implant surgery can discuss the many benefits of this advanced procedure. The entire procedure only takes 15 minutes per eye to perform. It is an outclient procedure so you will be able to return home the same day. Make plans for a friend or family member to drive you home from the surgery center.

Risks & Recovery

The risks from RLE, although very rare, include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Dislocated IOL
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Glare, halos or starbursts from lights
  • Decrease or loss of vision
  • Increased eye pressure (can lead to glaucoma or other complications)

These side effects are uncommon, and the likelihood of developing them can be reduced even further by carefully following all aftercare instructions provided.

Most clients report almost immediate improvement in their sight, and can resume their normal activities the day following the RLE procedure. You will have follow-up appointments to monitor your healing process and evaluate your improved vision. Most people who have the procedure see a dramatic improvement and may no longer need glasses or contacts, depending upon the type of lens placed in surgery.

Come to Charleston, SC for Your Vision Correction

Dr. George Waring and his staff at the Waring Vision Institute in Charleston, SC are committed to helping you improve your sight with advanced technology and compassionate care, and our facility is a premier destination for advanced vision correctly. Dr. Waring has been recognized as one of the nation’s top ophthalmologists in Castle Connolly’s Guide to America’s Top Ophthalmologists, and responsible for developing some of the most effective treatments for vision correction. Residents of Charleston as well as nearby Mount Pleasant, Myrtle Beach, and Columbia as well as clients who live outside the state come to the Waring Vision Institute to take advantage of our advanced treatments, technologies, and various ongoing clinical trials.

The Journey is the Reward

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