Refractive Lens Exchange Specialist

Randal Pham, MD, MS, FACS

Plastic Surgeon & Ophthalmologist located in San Jose, CA

If you’re tired of reaching for the reading glasses or bifocals every time you want to see something up close, you may be a candidate for refractive lens exchange (RLE). Randal Pham, MD, MS, FACS, offers refractive lens exchange surgery in San Jose, California. To find out if you would benefit from RLE, use the convenient online tool or call the practice to schedule an appointment today.

Refractive Lens Exchange Q&A

What is refractive lens exchange?

Refractive lens exchange, also called lens replacement surgery or clear lens extraction, is a surgical process that replaces your eye’s natural lens with an artificial lens to improve your focus, achieve better vision, and reduce the need for bifocals or reading glasses. The type of lens used to replace your natural lens depends on your vision needs and overall eye health. There are three lens types:

Monofocal fixed-focus lenses

Monofocal lenses can improve long-distance vision, intermediate, or close-up vision (but not all three at once). They can also correct astigmatism.

Multifocal lenses

If you have trouble with night vision or multiple distances, the multifocal lens is the best option.

Accommodating lenses

If you struggle with close-up vision, intermediate, and long-distance vision, the accommodating lens is likely the best choice. It works by shifting its position in your eye.


Who should get refractive lens exchange?

The refractive lens exchange surgery is ideal for people with presbyopia (farsightedness as a result of the natural aging process caused by loss of elasticity of the lens of the eye). If you have nearsightedness, it’s typically recommended that you get LASIK instead of a refractive lens exchange.


How is refractive lens exchange performed?

The lens replacement procedure is performed on an outpatient basis and takes about 15 minutes per eye. Only one eye is done at a time and the procedures for each eye are usually scheduled about one week apart. The procedure itself is almost identical to cataract surgery, except the lens removed from your eye is clear rather than cloudy from a cataract.

Refractive lens exchange is pain-free as Dr. Pham will use numbing anesthetic drops in your eye to minimize any discomfort.


Will I experience improved vision immediately after RLE?

Most people report immediate improvement to their vision after surgery, but the final results are not experienced for several weeks. During the recovery period, you may notice blurry vision, glare sensitivity, or halos. Your eyes may feel scratchy until they heal completely.

You can usually resume your normal daily activities, including work and driving, within a week of the procedure. Dr. Pham will provide aftercare instructions based on your individual recovery.

Learn more about refractive lens exchange surgery and find out if it will improve your vision by scheduling an appointment with Dr. Pham online or by calling the practice.