Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) in Kansas City, MO

Refractive lens exchange (RLE) is a great surgical option for those looking to reduce or eliminate the need for glasses and contact lenses.  It replaces the eye’s natural lens with an artificial lens and can treat nearly any refractive condition.

If you’re interested in learning more about refractive lens exchange, or other vision correction options that may help you be free of glasses and contact lenses, schedule a consultation with our refractive specialists. Consultations are available for virtual or in-office appointments.

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What Is Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)?

Corneal refractive surgeries such as LASIK and SMILE have proven to be great for millions of people.  However, not everyone is a candidate and they may be limited in the treatment of higher levels of myopia, hyperopia, and presbyopia.  Refractive lens exchange (RLE), also known as clear lens exchange or refractive lensectomy,  is a great alternative and may be used to treat nearly any refractive condition, including:

About 4.5 million eyes and climbing in the United States have this exact procedure each year in the form of cataract surgery due to clouding of the eye’s natural lens.  RLE is the elective cosmetic version to reduce or eliminate glasses and contact lenses prior to cataract formation.

How Does RLE Eye Surgery Work?

RLE is the same surgical process as cataract surgery, but is done prior to cataract formation when the lens is still clear.  Our natural lens is anatomically located in a capsule behind the iris (colored portion) of our eye.  A small, ~3mm, incision is made at the edge of the cornea (the clear front surface of the eye).  Through a dilated pupil an opening is made in the capsule holding the lens.  Then a small probe is inserted in the incision and utilizes ultrasound to break up the lens into small pieces which can then be gently suctioned out.  Through the same small incision, the new artificial lens can be placed into the existing capsule and correctly positioned.  This procedure will usually take 15 minutes or less and can be performed with any of a wide variety of vision correcting implants.

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RLE is a surgery to improve your vision. It’s typically used for people over age 40 who have very poor eyesight because of the way their eyes focus light. It can help if you have trouble seeing things up close or far away. Unlike LASIK, which reshapes your cornea, this surgery replaces the lens inside your eye. This procedure is quick, painless, and you can go home the same day.

Clear Lens Exchange (CLE) Implant Options

RLE can be performed for nearly any refractive condition, and those that are aged 40 and over may be the best served.  By the time we reach this age, presbyopia has set in, which means our natural lens has lost the ability to accomodate or focus.  This condition impacts us all in one way or another, whether it is needing a bifocal, reading glasses, monovision in contact lenses or having to take our glasses off to see up close.  Replacing our natural lens with an artificial clear lens exchange is addressing this issue at the root problem and can be a permanent fix.  These lenses will also address nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism in addition to the aforementioned presbyopia.

Types of lenses that can be utilized for this procedure are:

Schedule a virtual or in-office consultation to find out if you are a good candidate for RLE or other refractive procedures.

Refractive Lens Exchange Surgery Benefits

The benefits to a refractive lens exchange or clear lens replacement surgery can be numerous.

Who Is a Candidate for Refractive Lensectomy?

As previously stated, candidacy for refractive lens exchange (RLE) is wide ranging.  Laser vision procedures that change the shape of the cornea are generally the preferred procedure for those that are pre-presbyopic.  Their laser procedure provides them the ability to see distance and near due to their still functioning lens that can provide the focusing ability.  For those that are presbyopic (in need of bifocals or reading glasses) or are not laser vision candidates, a refractive lensectomy may be the best option.  

Candidates can include those in the following categories:

Schedule a RLE consultation, virtual or in-person


About The Clear Lens Exchange Procedure

The Clear Lens Exchange procedure at Discover Vision Centers in Kansas City is an elective outpatient procedure.  The procedure can be done on the same day or separate days for both eyes depending on the patient.  On the day of the procedure one can expect to spend approximately 90-120 minutes at the office / surgery center.  The procedure itself takes about 10 to 15 minutes per eye.

Preparing for Surgery

The first step in the process of considering refractive lens exchange involves completing a consultation with the doctor.   During this meeting you will have a thorough eye examination to make sure you are a good candidate.   The best option for your desired outcome and your expectations will be discussed.  When your procedure is scheduled instructions on preoperative preparation and postoperative recovery expectations will be covered.   Eye hygiene before surgery and medicated drops to be applied before surgery will be communicated.   A driver to get you home should be available after your surgery since you likely will receive sedative medication.


Prior to the RLE procedure you will likely receive either an oral or I.V. sedative along with a topical anesthetic drop.   A lid guard will be used to prevent a full eyelid closure during your procedure.  The surgeon then makes a very small incision on the clear part or cornea of your eye.  The natural lens is then removed and the artificial lens is placed.  Since the small corneal incision is self-sealing no sutures are required.   On completion of the procedure a protective eye shield will be placed and you will be giving instructions on care while you are at home.


After your surgery the most important thing is to not rub your eye and be certain to wear the protective shield over your eye for the first night’s sleep.  You will be asked to put medicated eye drops in your eye for the first month after surgery.  You may experience mild discomfort, tearing and burning sensation for the first few hours after surgery.  Your vision may also be blurry the day of surgery.  Most patients feel comfortable to drive one day after surgery.  You can resume most physical activities by 48 hours after surgery.  It is best to avoid swimming and any contact sport that could impact the eye for at least one week.


By one day after RLE surgery vision improvement should be dramatic.  Stable results should be noted between 2-4 weeks after surgery.  The goal of the surgery is to reduce if not eliminate glasses and contacts and this should be noticed early after your procedure. 

Why Choose Us for Clear Lensectomy?

Our main goal at Discover Vision Centers is to provide the best care and best options for patients we provide care to.  We understand eye surgery can be an emotional experience for patients and do everything we can to educate and minimize stress related to your surgery experience.  With clear lens extraction surgery a patient’s expectations must be met or exceeded and to do this with the lensectomy procedure we strive to provide the optimal lens technology to match what the patient wants to achieve with surgery.  Our decades of experience allow us to fine tune each procedure to allow for the most visual freedom and quality for each patient.

Financial Options

We have a number of options to help you pay for eye surgery. 

CareCredit: We accept CareCredit, the country’s leading patient healthcare financing program, subject to credit approval. CareCredit allows you to have your procedure and pay for it over a predetermined amount of time.  

Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Savings Accounts: We also accept FSA and HSA accounts, which are a great way to plan and pay for your surgery with tax free dollars. 

Insurance: We partner with most locally available insurance plans. However, many insurance plans see certain procedures as elective upgrades and may not cover the cost. Our team will work with you to verify any benefits or discounts you may be eligible for.

Areas We Serve

If you’re searching for “refractive lens exchange near me,” you should know that Discover Vision has offices throughout Missouri and Kansas to serve you.  Our Missouri locations include Blue Springs, Lee’s Summit, Harrisonville, Independence, The Northland, and Raymore.  Our Kansas locations include Leawood, Olathe, and The Legends.

About Our Refractive Lens Exchange Doctor

Dr. John Doane has been providing refractive lens exchange surgery for over 25 years.  He has been an active FDA investigator to provide the most technologically advanced IOL implants.

Refractive Lens Exchange Reviews

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I got right in and had a great experience. The Dr. was very thorough and explained everything clearly. Highly recommended!
Carol Waller

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Dr. Doane is amazing! He has done both my husband’s eyes and now my eyes. All of the staff are excellent as well, walking me through everything and making me feel super comfortable. Procedure was quick and simple- slept for a few hours and I could SEE without my glasses! Life changing. I highly recommend Discover Vision!
Chelsie Dobler

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My experience with Discover Vision Leawood was great. The staff is professional and courteous and took great care of me.
Helen Piwiec

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Does clear lens exchange surgery hurt?

No, clear lens exchange surgery does not hurt. Lens replacement is a safe and painless procedure. Before surgery, we give you topical anesthesia to numb the eye and sedation to help you feel comfortable. The tiny incisions made are microscopic and heal quickly. Our team is also there to guide you through the entire process, and quite literally, to hold your hand.

Will both eyes be treated at the same time during RLE?

Depending on the patient, the RLE procedure can be done on the same day or separate days for both eyes. In some cases only one eye needs to be treated. You can expect to spend approximately 1 to 2 hours at our surgery center on the day of surgery, but the procedure itself takes only 10 to 15 minutes per eye.

When can I resume normal activities after refractive lensectomy?

One of the many benefits of RLE is the minimal recovery time. Most patients feel comfortable driving one day after surgery, and can resume most physical activities within 48 hours. However, it is best to avoid swimming and any contact sports for at least one week.

What’s the difference between cataract surgery and refractive lens exchange?

In cataract surgery and a refractive lens exchange, the eye’s natural lens is replaced with an intraocular lens.  

Cataract surgery is typically performed when patients are 65 or older but some patients develop cataract much earlier in the 20-55 year age range. Cataract is a medical diagnosis so insurance can be used for most of the cost. Insurance only pays for a standard or monofocal lens implant when cataract surgery becomes necessary, which means that glasses are still needed. The cost of a multifocal lens, allowing you to see a range of distances without relying on glasses, is seen as an elective upgrade and is not covered. 

RLE is an option if you are over the age of 40 and are tired of dealing with contacts and glasses. It is an option for those who want to treat presbyopia, astigmatism, nearsightedness, farsightedness, or are not a candidate for other laser vision correction. Once an RLE is performed, replacing your natural lens with a multifocal implant, you will never need cataract surgery. Because this is seen as an elective procedure, some insurance plans may offer a discount, but the cost will primarily be an out of pocket expense.

How much does refractive lens exchange cost?

RLE costs more than other laser vision correction procedures such as LASIK. It is more expensive due to the advanced technology used in the lens implantation procedure. However, we offer 0% interest for 24 months or financing plans with interest for up to 60 months. Financing is available, subject to approved credit, through CareCredit. You can also use HSA or FSA dollars to pay for the cost of a refractive lens exchange.

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