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Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) is an eye surgery that is gaining in popularity. But it's not new! It involves removing the natural lens in the eye and exchanging it for a new intra-ocular lens (IOL). To understand how refractive lens exchange works, it helps to understand how the natural lens works and changes with age.
It’s not a surprise that 90% of contact lens users today wear soft contact lenses due to its superior comfort and convenience compared to conventional rigid/hard contact lenses. I have been a soft contact lens wearer since I was just 10 years old and primarily wear contacts instead of glasses. I love fitting my patients of all ages in contact lenses; however, I always have the conversation on the importance of following proper contact lens care instructions to avoid serious eye infections. If followed properly, the risk of infection is very low.
Parents with myopia are already familiar with the symptoms of not seeing clearly in the distance and relying on glasses or contacts to have their vision corrected. The term myopia is the medical term to describe nearsightedness, which is a common vision condition that usually develops in childhood as a result of the eye elongating at a faster rate than normal. Once a child becomes myopic, their vision typically deteriorates every 6-12 months, requiring stronger prescriptions after each eye exam. Most myopic children tend to stabilize by their late teens and early 20’s.
Glaucoma affects about 3 million people in the US. It is the 2nd leading cause of blindness, but is very often preventable with early detection and treatment. Most commonly, glaucoma is painless and symptom free until significant disease progression, which is why a comprehensive eye exam is needed for early diagnosis. The exact cause of glaucoma is unknown but is most commonly caused by increased eye pressure or a decrease of blood supply to the optic nerve.
Dry eye occurs when there is a problem with our tear film. The tear film coats the surface of our eyes to provide nutrients, moisture, and comfort. A healthy tear film is composed of a good balance of aqueous tears, mucus, and oils. An imbalance in this composition can lead to the evaporation of tears and inflammation on the surface of the eye.
Myopia is another word for being near-sighted, and also refers to having a longer-than-average length of the eye. People who are near-sighted see an object more clearly as it is brought nearer to them — objects near the viewer are clearer, and objects further away are blurred. Myopia can be classified based on its severity (i.e. low vs. high myopia). Low myopia refers to anyone who sees most clearly from 6.5 feet out or closer. In contrast, high myopia generally constitutes those who can only see clearly from around 4 inches or closer.