LaserVue LASIK & Cataract Center

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Refractive Lens Exchange

Refractive Lens Exchange, also known as clear lens extraction is a highly precise surgical method of replacing the natural lens of the eye with an intraocular lens (IOL), this is not operating on and changing the lens of the eye but replacing it entirely. Conditions such as extreme farsightedness, nearsightedness, or presbyopia (blurred vision due to the hardening of the lens due to age) can be corrected with this procedure while other surgeries such as LASIK cannot. Refractive lens exchange is an alternative to laser vision correction and involves essentially the same procedure as performed in cataract surgery.

The Benefits of Refractive Lens Exchange Include:

  • Quick Recovery
  • Major decrease of dependency on corrective lenses
  • Eliminates the risk of cataracts
  • Enhanced vision in both eyes at all distances

Patients who choose to undergo refractive lens exchange have several options when it comes to the IOL that will be implanted into the eye. This procedure uses the same IOLs as cataract surgery and can treat all visual disorders, including astigmatism. We offer patients the most advanced premium IOLs that allow patients to see clearly at all distances. Some of the most common IOLs include Symfony®, ReSTOR®, Crystalens®, and Toric lenses.

Refractive Lens Exchange is Ideal for Patients Who:

  • Want to reduce or eliminate their dependence on glasses or contact lenses
  • Are over 45 years old
  • Have high myopia (nearsightedness), high hyperopia (farsightedness) or presbyopia and/or astigmatism, with or without cataracts
  • Have early symptoms of cataracts

Many patients with extreme farsightedness or nearsightedness are not candidates for LASIK, and seek vision correction through refractive lens exchange.

Refractive lens exchange is performed on an outpatient basis and uses the same techniques as cataract surgery. Instead of removing a cloudy lens, the goal of this procedure is to reduce a patient’s dependence on glasses or contact lenses by inserting a corrective lens.

The Procedure

Local anesthesia is applied to the eyes to minimize discomfort during this procedure. The natural lens is removed through a tiny incision less than 3mm and replaced with an IOL that is inserted through the same incision. Once inserted, the lens unfolds and moves into its permanent position in the eye. There are usually no stitches needed as the incisions can heal themselves. The refractive lens exchange procedure takes less than 20 minutes to perform and offers patients significant results within days.

Refractive Lens Exchange Results & Recovery

After refractive lens exchange, patients can return home the same day and can return to work and other regular activities after a day or two. Many report immediate improvements to their vision, and vision will continue to improve as the brain adapts to the new lens. Once your vision has stabilized, it will likely stay the same over time as the lenses correct vision and also prevent the patient from developing cataracts in the future. The second eye is usually treated within a few weeks after the first procedure.
Refractive Lens Exchange is one of the most permanent and successful eye surgeries that can be performed. Dr. Bansal has offered Refractive Lens Exchange in the Bay Area to many people who are enjoying glasses and contact lens free lifestyles.

Many patients are able to eliminate their dependence on glasses or contacts after this procedure, while others may still need glasses for driving or reading.

Refractive Lens Exchange Risks & Complications

Since refractive lens exchange is a completely different procedure from laser vision correction, its associated risks are different as well. Some of these risks may include retinal detachment, infection, hemorrhage, visual distortion, glaucoma, and dryness. The doctor will discuss these risks with the patient, along with the benefits of the procedure, before deciding if refractive lens exchange is right for the patient. Patients can minimize these risks by choosing an experienced doctor to perform their procedure.

Schedule Your Refractive Lens Exchange Consultation Today

If you would like more information, your next step is a consultation at LaserVue Eye Center. During this time, we will perform any necessary exam to determine the best course of action to restore your eyesight. Please call 1.800.527.3745 or contact us online today.

Virtual LASIK Consultation Available!


To our valued patients, colleagues, and friends,

In response to COVID-19 and in accordance with local, state, and federal guidelines we have closed our Mountain View and San Francisco offices. Our Santa Rosa office is closed for routine eye care but is available to see patients on an emergency-only basis.

Any consultations or appointments occurring during the shelter-in-place period will be rescheduled.

If you are experiencing an emergency, please call our Santa Rosa office at 707-522-6200

We will provide updates as they come and be sure to announce our reopening as well in advance as possible. From myself, and on behalf of our team here at LaserVue, we wish you and your families the best and look forward to serving you in the future.

-Jay Bansal & the LaserVue team

San Francisco

LaserVue LASIK and Cataract Center San Francisco
711 Van Ness Ave #320,
San Francisco, CA 94102
Location & Map 1-800-527-3745 1-415-346-5500

Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa Business Location
3540 Mendocino Ave. #200,
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Location & Map 1-800-527-3745 1-707-522-6200

Mountain View

Laservue LASIK Center in Mountain View
1174 Castro St., #112,
Mountain View, CA 94040
Location & Map 1-800-527-3745 1-650-966-0900

Call 1-800-LASER-45 or Schedule a Virtual Consultation