Clear Lens Exchange Surgery: What Is It, and Am I a Good Candidate?

June 30th, 2023

Is it difficult for you to focus on objects up close? Are you looking for a life free from corrective lenses but you’re not a candidate for LASIK or PRK for any number of reasons? Clear lens exchange (CLE) surgery may be an option to help you see clearly.

What Is Clear Lens Exchange Surgery?

CLE is also known as refractive lens exchange, or RLE. It’s a simple, safe, and effective surgery that is performed exactly as it sounds: An artificial lens made of acrylic, silicone, or plastic replaces your eye’s natural lens to help you see clearly. It’s similar to cataract surgery, except the lens is replaced prior to the development of cataracts. With our advanced intraocular lens (IOL) options, most patients no longer require corrective lenses. And you never have to worry about cataracts in the future! 

CLE procedures are typically performed one eye at a time on an outpatient basis, with each surgery at least one week apart so the first eye has proper time to begin healing. These lens replacement procedures  last approximately 20 minutes. A local anesthesia is applied to numb the eye, and many patients receive medication prior to CLE surgery to help them remain relaxed. Our expert surgeons then use state-of-the-art laser technology to make customized, highly precise incisions to remove the natural lens and replace it with the IOL. This technique allows patients to experience minimal discomfort and the best possible results. The recovery time is typically very short, with most patients experiencing vision improvement in just 24 hours after surgery and fully healing within four weeks. 

Who Is a Good Candidate for CLE Surgery?

CLE can correct refractive errors such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), astigmatism, and presbyopia, which is the natural hardening of your eye lens as you age. It’s also particularly useful in resolving early onset cataracts in young people. This surgery may be a great choice for patients who suffer from dry eye syndrome, have thin corneas, or are beginning to experience presbyopia (typically around age 40 or older).

If CLE isn’t the right choice for you, don’t worry. At ICON Eyecare, our experienced team can help you navigate the vision correction options that may be better suited for your unique situation and vision goals. 

Learn More About CLE From ICON Eyecare

Our world-class doctors are here to help you see if CLE surgery is right for you. We pride ourselves on our accessibility and an excellent standard of eye care to help you find the best option for your needs. Request an appointment today at one of our convenient locations across the Front Range.