Can I Have Cataract Surgery after LASIK?
Cataracts are a leading cause of vision loss. Cataracts are formations of proteins that build up on the lens of the eye, causing it to cloud over so that the vision becomes blurry. There are multiple ways to slow the progression of cataracts and preserve the vision, but the only long-term treatment is cataract surgery.
Cataract surgery completely removes an affected lens and replaces it with an intraocular lens, or IOL, that restores clear vision. While cataract surgery is generally safe, many of our Monterey, CA, patients at Monterey County Eye Associates wonder about cataract surgery after LASIK. If someone has previously undergone LASIK to treat vision impairment, will cataract surgery be safe and effective? We address those concerns here.
Are LASIK Patients Suitable Cataract Surgery Candidates?
As with any other type of eye surgery, the doctors at Monterey County Eye Associates must ensure that patients are good candidates for cataract surgery before proceeding with treatment. There are several factors that are taken into consideration when determining cataract surgery candidacy. Most importantly we must be sure that patients are in good overall health, and that they are not suffering from any other eye diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, or macular degeneration.
Refractive errors, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, should have no effect on cataract surgery candidacy. Even if a patient has previously undergone LASIK surgery to treat vision impairment, they should be ideal cataract surgery candidates. These two surgical procedures treat different parts of the eye, so neither has an impact on the other.
LASIK vs. Cataract Surgery
LASIK surgery and cataract surgery both promise to improve the vision, but they are two completely different procedures. Not only do these techniques address different causes of vision loss, but they focus on different parts of the eye, which is why cataract surgery is safe after LASIK and vice versa (though a patient is unlikely to need LASIK after cataract surgery).
LASIK surgery treats refractive errors that cause nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. During a LASIK procedure, an incision is made around the outer edge of the cornea. This incision creates a flap that allows our doctors to lift the cornea and reshape underlying tissues to correct abnormalities that result in vision impairment. After alterations are made the cornea is laid back in place so the tissues can heal. LASIK surgery improves the vision almost immediately.
Cataract surgery does nothing to treat refractive errors. Instead, this procedure focuses solely on removing cataracts, which exist on the lens of the eye. During cataract surgery the lens of the eye is removed. The lens sits behind the pupil of the eye, so cataract surgery doesn’t affect the cornea at all. After the lens is removed, an intraocular lens is placed. This artificial lens essentially acts like a permanent contact lens, allowing light to be focused on the retina so that individuals enjoy clear vision.
Will I Need Glasses after Cataract Surgery?
LASIK surgery enhances the vision and leaves most people completely free of prescription lenses. After undergoing LASIK treatment, it is understandable that people would worry about needing to rely on glasses or contact lenses following cataract surgery. Fortunately, in most cases patients do not need prescription eyewear after cataract surgery.
Prior to performing cataract surgery, our doctors look at a patient’s vision history. We consider what the patient’s vision was like prior to LASIK surgery and use this to choose the right IOL for their cataract procedure. IOLs can address one type of vision, or they can be multifocal, so that they improve both near and distant vision. With the right IOL, cataract surgery should improve the vision without leaving patients dependent on glasses.
Contact the Doctors at Monterey County Eye Associates
If you have questions about cataract surgery the doctors at Monterey County Eye Associates would be happy to provide you with more information. To get in touch, send us a message online or call (831) 375-2020.