What Is RLE? 

RLE stands for refractive lens exchange. The surgery involves replacing your natural lens with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). It’s done to remove cataracts and improve your vision. 

Cataract Surgery at a Glance

When the lens of your eye is healthy and clear, you can see through it easily. When you have cataracts, this lens becomes cloudy. Many patients liken it to trying to see through a foggy window. Without cataract treatment, your vision will continue to worsen, eventually resulting in blindness. 

At Beach Cities Laser Vision, cataract treatment in Long Beach & Torrance is a safe procedure that we perform often. In just 15 to 30 minutes, we can halt your vision loss and help you see sharply again. Once the IOL is in place, it works just like your natural lens, bending light as it enters the eye and helping it focus on the retina so you can see objects clearly. 

The Benefits

A Quick and Comfortable Procedure

Your RLE surgery in the Long Beach & Torrance area with Dr. Liu will take just 15 to 30 minutes to complete. Dr. Liu will administer special drops to numb your eyes ahead of time, so you should be comfortable throughout the procedure. 

Prevents Future Cataracts

Unlike your natural lens, your IOL won’t continue to age and deteriorate throughout life. It will remain clear and healthy, so you won’t develop new cataracts or experience a further decline in your vision. 

Clear Vision

The refractive lens exchange procedure completely replaces your cloudy lens with an artificial one. As such, it restores your clear vision and should reduce your dependence on glasses and contacts moving forward. It can also reduce glare and improve night vision. 

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The RLE Surgery

Before your RLE surgery, Dr. Liu will administer drops to numb your eyes. Once the drops have taken effect, she will make a small incision in your eye where the sclera and cornea meet.

She will then remove your natural lens and insert your new IOL. This incision is so tiny that it doesn’t require stitches. Once the IOL is in place, she will protect your eye with a shield. 

After surgery, you’ll need someone to drive you home and to your first follow-up appointment with Dr. Liu. As you heal, you will likely experience blurry vision for a short period. This is normal and will clear up very quickly. Most people can resume their normal daily routine in a few days. However, you may need to wait longer to swim and exercise. Dr. Liu will give you a personalized recovery timeline during your post-surgery appointments. 

Your IOL Options

When it comes to selecting an IOL for your RLE surgery, you have two primary options: monofocal and multifocal. Each option has its benefits and drawbacks, and Dr. Liu can help you determine which one is best for you. 


Monofocal IOLs have one fixed focal point, which means they can improve your vision at one distance only. For example, if your lens can help you see clearly at far distances, you will likely still need glasses when you’re reading. 

Monofocal IOLs are great for many patients because they deliver predictable results and are a cost-effective option. The main drawbacks are that you can’t correct for varying distances without glasses and may experience limited depth perception. 


Multifocal IOLs can correct your vision at near, far, and intermediate distances. They are designed with concentric rings that help your eyes focus on light at multiple points at the same time. This makes them a flexible and appealing option for many patients, as they allow for complete (or nearly complete) freedom from glasses.

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Is RLE Right for You? 

Before we can determine if RLE is right for you, Dr. Liu will need to examine your eyes and evaluate your cataracts. In general, you’ll be a candidate as long as you are over 40 and don’t have:

  • An eye disease that affects your cornea
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Conditions that put you at a higher risk for retinal detachment
  • Any other serious eye conditions  

Schedule an Appointment

If you’re ready to plan your cataract treatment with Dr. Liu, please call our Long Beach office today and schedule an appointment. 

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