RLE surgery, short for Refractive Lens Exchange surgery, is a type of vision correction surgery used to treat patients who already need glasses for reading (presbyopia) or are significantly long-sighted (hyperopia).
It’s usually recommended as an alternative treatment to LASIK or PRK/LASEK, but how much does lens replacement surgery cost?
How Much Does Refractive Lens Exchange Surgery Cost?
Surgery cost is often one of the patients’ first questions when considering any elective procedure. It is a valid concern and should be addressed early in the consultation process.
At Focus Clinics, refractive lens exchange surgery costs between £6,500 and £7,500 for both eyes, depending on the lens implant needed.
When you reach the age of 40, you may start to experience presbyopia, which is the age-related loss of near vision. Presbyopia initially affects only reading vision but later will also cause deterioration in intermediate ranges, such as on a PC.
Your surgeon can correct presbyopia with glasses, contact lenses, or RLE surgery.
RLE surgery improves vision by implanting a special lens inside the eye, known as an intraocular lens (IOL).
Patients looking to be glasses-free will need a lens implant to correct their distance, computer and reading range vision. These IOLs, called premium lenses, are more expensive than standard implants.
Premium lenses will correct vision at more than one distance. Advanced trifocal lenses, for instance, assist with distance (driving, TV) vision, intermediate ranges, e.g. on a computer, and closer work, such as reading a book or phone.
The decision to have surgery is personal, and you should be fully informed.
If you are considering RLE surgery, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits and get a few different cost estimates to compare.
Our treatment costs include the initial consultation, pre-operative testing, and the surgery itself. Some clinics may separate these costs, so a full breakdown of the treatment fees is essential to compare accurately.
Why Is Lens Replacement Surgery So Expensive?
Regarding RLE, many people are put off by the high cost compared to treatments like LASIK or PRK.
So why is lens replacement surgery more expensive? There are a few reasons.
- The surgery is much more complex and requires a skilled surgeon.
- The artificial lenses used in the surgery are manufactured to your tailored specifications and are a large part of the cost.
While the cost of refractive lens exchange can be a deterrent for some, it is a very effective and safe operation.
Most patients will see an immediate improvement in their vision, but recovery to your regular activities can take anywhere from a few days to a week. You should be able to return to work and resume driving after a few days, but your surgeon will advise you.
While the cost of RLE can be prohibitive, many patients feel that the procedure’s benefits are worth the price tag, and we offer competitive financing options to spread out the cost of your treatment.
Is Refractive Lens Exchange Worth It?
If considering RLE, you may wonder if it is worth it. It is similar to LASIK surgery, but instead of reshaping your cornea, the surgeon removes your natural lens and changes it with an artificial lens. The main benefits are that the RLE result is permanent, whereas LASIK for reading vision will decrease over time.
Additionally, if you opt for RLE, you will not need cataract surgery in the future as the natural lens, which develops into a cataract for most people during their lives, has been removed.
However, this surgery is not without risks, and discussing your treatment options with your doctor is vital to see which is right for you.
Patients who are best suited for lens replacement surgery include those with:
- Moderate to high degrees of long-sight (hyperopia)
- Those aged 50+ who use reading glasses (presbyopia)
- Those not suitable for LASIK or phakic IOL treatment
While sight-threatening complications are rare, and most complications can be treated with medication or further surgery, any surgery has a degree of risk, so you must weigh the risks and benefits carefully before deciding.
Some potential complications include:
- Retinal detachment
- Dislocated IOL
- Increased eye pressure (ocular hypertension)
- Infection or bleeding inside the eye
- Droopy eyelid (ptosis)
- Glare, halos and blurry vision
RLE can significantly improve vision and quality of life, so for many people, the benefits of the surgery far outweigh the potential risks and surgery costs.
Refractive Lens Exchange surgery is considered a highly effective and safe treatment option for those suffering from presbyopia or significant long-sightedness.
The cost of RLE surgery can be higher than other treatments, but it is important to understand that this is due to the complexity of the surgery and the tailored nature of the artificial lenses used.
Although RLE is not without its potential risks and side effects, many patients find that the improved vision and quality of life make it well worth the cost.
At Focus Clinics, we provide competitive financing options to help spread out the cost of treatment and ensure that everyone has access to the care they need.
If you’re considering RLE, book a free telephone consultation with a member of our team, and they’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have about the procedure.