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Lens Replacement (CLR/RLE)

Unlock the Full Potential of Your Vision

Custom lens replacement (CLR), sometimes also known as refractive lens exchange (RLE), is a custom vision correction procedure that is typically intended for people aged 45 or older whom have started to develop dysfunctional lens syndrome (presbyopia) or the early stages of cataracts. In dysfunctional lens syndrome, the eye’s natural focussing lens begins to undergo a hardening process that reduces the flexibility needed to adjust your vision as you attempt to change your focus from distance to near objects (ie, reading up close). This results in blurred fine print, difficulty adjusting from distance to near vision, and eyestrain. The CLR procedure was adapted from the highly successful and most commonly performed surgery in the world: cataract surgery. In both procedures, the dysfunctional or cloudy lens of the eye is replaced with an artificial lens that is designed to last the rest of your life. And in both procedures, we now are able to take advantage of advanced technology lens implants that can vastly improve the range of our vision compared to what we are experiencing through the natural aging process. With CLR, the specific goal of the procedure is to reduce or eliminate the need for glasses and contact lenses, potentially for 20-30 years or more!

There is a Bonus with Custom Lens Replacement

Having custom lens replacement also means that you will not need cataract surgery in the future, as the lens is removed as part of the procedure. Waiting for cataracts to “ripen” is an outdated concept, as advanced procedural techniques no longer require cataracts to fully mature before removal. In fact, waiting too long to have cataracts to be removed actually increases the complication rate and overall time of recovery. By having CLR prior to full development of cataracts, you’ll never have to worry about the gradual vision decline associated with cataracts, as you’re preventing cataracts from the beginning!

Mature woman on bicycle

Common Questions About Custom Lens Replacement

The Custom Lens Replacement (CLR) procedure is quick, and most often completely painless. Each procedure takes 10-15 minutes per eye, which can be done on the same day or a few weeks apart. During the procedure your surgeon will carefully aspirate the natural lens through a tiny opening, and replace it with a permanent, artificial lens with advanced optical features. There are multiple advanced technology lens options which serve various vision correction needs. You and your surgeon will discuss your vision goals and decide which options will be the best for you with your procedure. After your procedure you may notice some minor side effects, such dry eyes, seeing rings around lights, and fluctuating vision. Most CLR patients are able to return to normal activities within a week, with near-normal visual functioning within 24-48 hours. The symptoms and recovery time will vary depending on the lens you and your surgeon ultimately choose.

Custom Lens Replacement (CLR) involves gentle removal of the dysfunctional lens followed by placement of a permanent, advanced technology lens that restores the visual function lost from dysfunctional lens syndrome or presbyopia. The end result is correction of myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness), astigmatism, and presbyopia (loss of near vision with age). Following CLR, most patients do not need glasses or contacts for common activities like driving, watching television, using a smartphone, reading restaurant menus, and working at the computer screen. The specific advanced technology lens used will vary by patient, and will be determined by your surgeon at the time of consultation.

No, LASIK is a laser procedure that reshapes the front of the eye to correct your vision. But after age 45, LASIK cannot always fully address dysfunctional lens syndrome (presbyopia) without a blended or monovision correction (one distance, one near). If you’ve been told you aren’t a candidate for LASIK due to age, thin corneas, large hyperopic correction (farsightedness), presbyopia, or early cataracts, then CLR might be the best option for you to correct your vision. In addition, unlike LASIK, having CLR means you’ll never need cataract surgery in the future, as removing the natural lens prevents cataracts from forming.

Yes, in some cases patients under 45 who are not a candidate for LASIK, SMILE, PRK or the EVO ICL may consider CLR if they have a high hyperopic prescriptions, early presbyopia, and are struggling with tolerating their glasses or contact lenses. A careful discussion with your surgeon regarding the risks and benefits is important, which you will have at your consultation.

While it may be dysfunctional, if your natural lens hasn’t fully developed a visually-significant cataract, Custom Lens Replacement (CLR) will not be covered by medical or vision insurance. In order to take advantage of the benefits of CLR for the years prior to developing a significant cataract, the procedure will be an out-of-pocket investment. However, like other vision-correction procedures, you may use FSA or HSA accounts to cover the expense, or take advantage of our same-as-cash financing through Alphaeon credit, which can spread out the costs of the procedure over two years while you get to enjoy the benefits. In fact, the out-of-pocket costs for CLR are almost identical to a modern cataract surgery procedure with advanced technology IOL, which you’ll never actually need anymore once you’ve had CLR! As with our other vision-correcting procedures, CLR comes in an all-inclusive package which includes all pre-operative measurements, on-site surgery in our modern procedure suite, an advanced technology lens, all post-operative related care, your eye drop medications, and any potential refractive enhancements or adjustments needed. This all can be quite affordable and offers a permanent solution that you own compared to the ongoing expenses of bifocal or progressive lenses or contacts. Contact us for additional information!

Older male Refractive Lens Exchange patient

Top Reasons to have Custom Lens Replacement (CLR) at Clear Vision Center

  • Truly customized vision-correction plan, tailored to your individual traits and goals
  • Can correct both near and far vision, including astigmatism
  • Experienced lens surgeon with over 5000 vision correction procedures performed
  • Comfortable and convenient on-site procedure
  • Painless procedure with fast recovery: return to work in 2 days
  • Available with the PanOptix multifocus IOL, the RxSight Light-Adjustable Lens, and other advanced lenses
  • Prevents the need for cataract surgery in the future
  • Cost savings by ending your need for recurring eyewear expenses
  • Improved peripheral vision compared to high-power glasses
  • Includes on-site refractive enhancements, if indicated

Ready for a Consultation?

Call or text us at 248-710-2325 to speak with one of our vision correction specialists, or book consultation yourself below: