The gift of clear vision

Refractive Lense Exchange is very similar to cataract surgery but without the presence of a cataract. It is a safe and effective operation designed for people with myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness), presbyopia (loss of reading ability and near vision), or an abnormal cornea (usually too thin for LASIK). 

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What is a Refractive Lense Exchange?

A Refractive Lense Exchange is where an eye surgeon replaces your eye’s natural lens with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) implant. It’s the same procedure as cataract surgery but is performed when the patient has not yet experienced cataracts in their eye. This will prevent cataracts from forming for life. It is a permanent procedure, and your prescription should stabilize for life. Refractive Lense Exchange is custom to you because it involves correcting YOUR prescription with a laser and with the proper IOL.

Is Refractive Lense Exchange a better alternative to LASIK?

Refractive Lense Exchange is often a better alternative to LASIK surgery for a number of reasons:

  • LASIK alters the cornea permanently. Refractive Lense Exchange does not.
  • LASIK will push you into reading glasses. Refractive Lense Exchange does not.
  • The FDA is considering a warning label for LASIK. Refractive Lense Exchange is as safe as cataract surgery.
  • LASIK does not prevent cataracts from forming later in life. Refractive Lense Exchange prevents cataracts.
  • LASIK often has regression or change in prescription. Refractive Lense Exchange does not result in change over time.
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Why choose Coastal Eye?

At Coastal Eye, we take pride in serving our community with high-quality vision correction surgery. Our boutique-style offices in Greenwich and New Canaan, CT, are designed to provide comfort and peace of mind before, during, and after your surgery. We understand that vision correction surgery can be a significant decision, and we strive to provide support throughout the entire process. From your consultation to your post-operative care, we ensure every patient feels informed, comfortable, and confident in their decision to undergo laser lens replacement. Contact us today to see if you’re a good fit for Refractive Lense Exchange!

What are the benefits of Refractive Lense Exchange?

Refractive Lense Exchange is an attractive option for those with refractive errors in one or both eyes – especially for those who don’t meet the requirements for laser surgery. Here are some of the significant benefits of Refractive Lense Exchange surgery:

  • Patients usually experience immediately improved vision
  • Though it can’t be reversed, Refractive Lense Exchange surgery lasts a lifetime
  • Quick recovery team, usually no longer than one week
  • It’s a safe and effective surgery with a high success rate
  • Won’t alter corneal thickness, unlike LASIK
  • No need for future cataract surgery
  • No risk of losing its corrective effect
  • Safe alternative to LASIK eye surgery
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The Refractive Lense Exchange procedure

The laser Refractive Lense Exchange procedure is designed for a variety of patients, including those with near-sightedness, far-sightedness, loss of reading vision, and patients who are not candidates for LASIK, as mentioned above.

Laser lens replacement is a safe procedure – at least as safe as cataract surgery, if not safer since there are no cataracts yet. The procedure is designed for a variety of patients, including those with presbyopia, myopia, hyperopia, and abnormal corneas.

The procedure only takes about 15 minutes per eye and is done in our sophisticated, boutique, high-technology office surgical suite. You’ll be awake with some oral sedation if you choose, and you will not feel any pain. Both eyes can be done at the same time. Vision is often clear the same day after the dilation wears off.

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What are the types of lenses used?

When replacing your eye's natural lens, your eye surgeon can choose between two different types of lenses – a light adjustable lens and a multifocal IOL. A toric version of either lens can be implanted if you have significant astigmatism.


Multifocal intraocular lens implants represent a significant advancement in vision correction, providing patients with a full range of clear vision, from near to far, after RLE. These lenses are ingeniously designed to eliminate dependence on glasses and contact lenses, greatly enhancing everyday visual experiences.

Light Adjustable Lens

The light adjustable lens is a groundbreaking innovation in RLE, offering unparalleled customization of vision post-operation. It allows for non-invasive adjustments to the lens' optical power after implantation, adapting to a patient's specific visual needs with precision and flexibility.

Your eye surgeon will help you determine which lens you would benefit the most from prior to the surgery. Either way, you can expect improved vision almost immediately after surgery.

Multifocal Intraocular Lenses

Dr. Shakir often recommends multifocal intraocular lenses for the best range of vision. Multifocal intraocular lenses are artificial lenses that can be implanted in the eye for the correction of presbyopia and other vision problems. Unlike traditional monofocal IOLs, which only correct vision at one distance, multifocal IOLs have multiple zones that allow for clear vision at different distances. 

Multifocal IOLs use different areas of the lens to focus light at different distances, similar to bifocal or multifocal glasses. This allows individuals to see clearly near and far without needing glasses or contact lenses. Several types of multifocal IOLs are available, including diffractive and refractive multifocal IOLs.

Diffractive multifocal IOLs use a series of concentric rings to diffract light and focus it at different distances, while refractive multifocal IOLs use different zones of the lens to refract light and focus it at different distances.

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Are there any risks or complications of Refractive Lense Exchange?

How do I prepare for a Refractive Lense Exchange?

Is a laser used in Refractive Lense Exchange?

Can my astigmatism be fixed?

Are there any risks or complications of Refractive Lense Exchange?

One of the things we get asked often by patients that are considering Refractive Lense Exchange is whether or not there are any risks and complications. Since it’s a similar procedure to cataract surgery, the risks and complications aren’t much different, including:

  • Eye infection
  • Bleeding in the eye
  • Increased eye pressure
  • Retinal detachment
  • Dislocated intraocular lens
  • Glares and halos in the field of visionBlurred vision
  • Droopy eyelids
  • Glaucoma

The good news is Refractive Lense Exchange surgery comes with a high success rate, especially with the technology we have today. Complications are rare and can generally be treated with additional surgery or medication.

How do I prepare for a Refractive Lense Exchange?

Preparation for a Refractive Lense Exchange is rather simple. You’ll consult with your eye surgeon leading up to the surgery, where they’ll perform ultrasound tests to measure your eye's shape and size. They’ll usually direct you to stop taking certain medications and give you antibiotic eye drops to place in the eye 1-2 days prior to the surgery. In most cases, you’ll also have to fast (no drinks or food) for 12 hours leading up to the surgery. As for the surgery itself, it’s performed on an outpatient basis and usually takes 15-30 minutes per eye. You’ll be awake, but you’re given numbing anesthetic eye drops – which means you won’t feel anything. Depending on the patient, recovery time lasts a few days to a few weeks.

Is a laser used in Refractive Lense Exchange?

Yes, we almost always use a laser for Refractive Lense Exchange. The laser is essential for the best outcome, and it is customized to your eyes. This way, we can customize the treatment of your astigmatism and accurately implant your new IOL. The laser we used is femtosecond laser technology with augmented reality from LensAR.

Can my astigmatism be fixed?

Yes! Absolutely. In fact, we can fix your astigmatism either with laser or with a toric version of the implant IOL, or both if you have a lot of astigmatism. The toric upgrade for your lens implant is included for free if you need it. The laser treatment is customized to your eye and done simultaneously with your Refractive Lense Exchange. Most often, once your astigmatism is treated with Refractive Lense Exchange, it does not come back. With LASIK, sometimes your astigmatism can slowly creep back.

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Enhance your vision at Coastal Eye!

For those considering Refractive Lense Exchange surgery to improve their vision, it is crucial to work with a skilled surgeon with extensive experience who can provide the best possible care. At Coastal Eye, Dr. Shakir and his team specialize in Refractive Lense Exchange surgery and are dedicated to helping patients achieve optimal vision and a better quality of life.

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of Refractive Lense Exchange surgery or are considering it to improve your vision, contact Dr. Shakir and his team at Coastal Eye today. Dr. Shakir's qualified team will gladly answer any questions you have and help you determine if Refractive Lense Exchange surgery is the right choice for your individual needs.

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