Lens Replacement in Billings, MT

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About Refractive Lens Exchange

The vast majority of people begin to notice that they can't focus clearly on close-up items as they near or pass the age of 40. Even those who have always had good vision start to need reading glasses for things like checking their watches, sewing or other hobbies, and of course, reading books or mobile devices. This condition is called presbyopia and is caused by natural changes in the eye's lens and its surrounding muscles due to the aging process. Approximately 90 million baby boomers have already developed presbyopia or can expect to over the next decade. However, due to new advancements in ocular health technology and techniques, many of these patients can enhance their reading vision via outpatient laser, non-laser, and innovative lens implant procedures.

At Vance Thompson Vision, our world-class eye surgeons are proud to be able to offer our eligible patients the refractive lens exchange (RLE). The RLE is virtually the same procedure that is performed for cataract removal surgery, since it involves the removal and replacement of the eye's natural lens with an advanced artificial lens. The difference is that the RLE is designed to replace the lens due to refractive error, not due to cataracts. 

If your presbyopia or other refractive vision impairment has progressed beyond the help of prescription lenses or laser surgery — and you do not have cataracts — the refractive lens exchange may be a great solution. Dr. Russell Swan and his team of award-winning ophthalmologist surgeons use only the most advanced and proven technology and procedures for their patients. Contact our Billings, MT facility today to schedule a private consultation to find out if the refractive lens exchange procedure is right for you.

Cornea FAQs

Best Candidates

Patients who are interested in any refractive surgery will have to come in to Vance Thompson Vision for a thorough consultation to find out if they are good candidates. The private consultation typically includes a comprehensive eye exam, a medical history review, and a discussion about overall lifestyle. In general, the ideal patients for the RLE have advanced presbyopia but otherwise healthy eyes and wish to reduce or eliminate their reliance on prescription eye glasses or contact lenses for performing daily tasks. 

Treatment Options

At Vance Thompson Vision, we perform the refractive lens exchange as an outpatient surgery. Your eyes will be completely numbed prior to surgery, and we may administer a mild sedative if requested. 

Depending on choices made during your pre-operative consultations, you may receive either the manual or ReLACS method of lens exchange surgery. For the manual surgery, your surgeon will use a blade to create a tiny incision to remove and replace the lens. With ReLACS, your surgeon will use a laser to make the incision. Once your eyes are numb and you are prepared for surgery, your surgeon will make the incision. Through this incision, the natural lens of your eye will be broken up via ultrasonic waves or the ReLACS laser, depending on the method of surgery chosen. One benefit of the ReLACS method is that the laser is able to break the lens into smaller pieces that are easier to remove. After the natural lens is gently suctioned out, your surgeon will insert a new artificial lens, called an intraocular lens (IOL). The new artificial lens will dramatically enhance your vision without affecting the color or appearance of your eye. 

Our own Dr. Vance Thompson was a major participant in the research and development of the ReLACS surgery. He is very proud to have been involved in the clinical trials and FDA approval process for the ReLACS technology, which allows surgeons to plan and conduct refractive lens exchange with greatly increased precision. It also enables surgeons to have more control and flexibility during the procedure. In addition, ReLACS technology includes tools for accurate, real-time visuals of the inside of the eye during surgery.  

What to Expect

After your refractive lens exchange, your vision should be noticeably improved right away, with continued improvement over the next few days as your eyes heal and adjust to the new lens. It's very important to attend all of your scheduled follow-up appointments and follow all of your doctor's aftercare instructions.

Refractive lens exchange is an exciting alternative to laser vision correction, such as LASIK, that provides the patient with a brand new lens as opposed to reshaping the cornea. There is a wide range of options to choose from among our advanced artificial lenses, or IOLs, that can offer clear vision at distant, middle, and close-up ranges.

These remarkable IOLs are designed to last you for the rest of your life. It is important to note though, that refractive lens exchange can be repeated if for any reason your new lens doesn't provide your best possible vision.

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Procedure Information

Recovery Time  
1 - 2 days
Procedure Time  
30 minutes (15 per eye)
Follow Up Time  
1 day, 1 week, 1 month
Recovery Location  
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Is it TIme for An RLE?

Call Vance Thompson Vision in Billings, MT today to schedule your RLE consultation. Every patient has unique vision and lifestyle needs that must be considered when determining his or her best treatment plan. Board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Russell Swan or a member of his team will perform a thorough evaluation to find out whether the refractive lens exchange is the best option for you. 

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.