Can You Have Cataract Surgery After Lasik?

When facing vision problems, many people turn to LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) for a chance at clear vision without glasses. 

But what happens when cataracts – the clouding of the eye’s natural lens – become a reality down the road? 

Can you undergo cataract surgery after having LASIK? This is a common question among patients who have experienced LASIK and are now considering cataract surgery. 

In this post, we’ll explore the relationship between the two procedures and provide valuable insights for those contemplating their next steps in vision care.


Understanding Cataracts and Cataract Surgery

Cataracts refer to the clouding of the crystalline lens positioned behind the iris and pupil of the eye. This lens is pivotal in directing light rays onto the retina, the light-sensitive layer located at the eye’s rear. With cataract development, the lens becomes opaque, hindering light passage and impacting vision. It is a natural part of the ageing process.

Symptoms of cataracts can vary but typically manifest with the following warning signs:

  • Blurred or cloudy vision
  • Decreased night vision
  • Heightened sensitivity to glare
  • Regular changes in glasses or contact lens prescriptions
  • Occasional double vision
  • Challenges in perceiving colours accurately

Cataract surgery stands as the sole effective remedy for cataracts. During this procedure, the surgeon eliminates the cloudy natural lens and substitutes it with a transparent artificial intraocular lens (IOL). Cataract surgery is a secure and regular procedure, boasting a high success rate.


Can You have Cataract surgery after LASIK?

The good news is that having LASIK does not exclude you from the possibility of cataract surgery. In fact, it’s entirely possible and often successful. Advances in pre-surgical planning and surgical techniques mean that prior LASIK patients can proceed with cataract surgery when necessary.

LASIK addresses the cornea, while cataract surgery focuses on replacing the lens in the eye. Treating one doesn’t hinder treating the other. This means not only can you have cataract surgery after LASIK, but you can also have LASIK after cataract surgery. This principle applies to any type of refractive laser vision correction.


Effects of LASIK on Cataract Surgery 

LASIK modifies the cornea, the eye’s front clear dome, to correct refractive errors by changing its focusing ability. Although LASIK does not directly impact the lens, where cataracts form, it can pose challenges during cataract surgery. Here’s how it influences the process: 

  • Determining Intraocular Lens Power: A critical aspect of cataract surgery involves calculating the correct power for the intraocular lens (IOL) implant to replace the cloudy lens and restore clear vision. This calculation takes into account the cornea’s shape and curvature. Since LASIK changes the cornea’s shape, accurately measuring the IOL power post-LASIK can be slightly more intricate. 
  • Increased Tissue Disruption: LASIK involves creating a flap in the cornea. Although this flap typically heals effectively, it can lead to additional tissue disruption during cataract surgery. 
  • Potential Complications: There is a slight chance that manipulating the cornea during cataract surgery following LASIK could displace the LASIK flap. Nonetheless, this risk is minimal under the care of a skilled surgeon.


Key Considerations for Cataract Surgery After LASIK

If you’ve undergone LASIK and are contemplating cataract surgery, certain precautions and considerations warrant discussion with your ophthalmologist:

  1. Accurate IOL Calculation: To determine the correct IOL power, your eye surgeon may use advanced measurement technologies and consider the historical data from your LASIK procedure. Sharing your LASIK records with your cataract surgeon will help in making the necessary adjustments for accurate IOL determination.
  2. Timing of the Surgery: While cataract surgery is feasible at any stage of cataract development, individuals post-LASIK may consider it earlier if visual acuity impacts daily tasks, even if cataracts aren’t fully matured. However, a minimum of one year post-LASIK is recommended before undergoing cataract surgery to allow the cornea to stabilize fully.
  3. Innovative Technologies: Explore advanced cataract surgery technologies post-LASIK, such as:
  • Femtosecond Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery: A laser aids in precise corneal incisions and cataract fragmentation, potentially enhancing precision and outcomes.
  • Enhanced IOL Options: Consult your surgeon on suitable IOL types based on your visual requirements and lifestyle. Options like monofocal, multifocal, or toric IOLs can address cataracts and residual refractive errors post-LASIK.

  1. Detailed Medical History:  Inform your ophthalmologist about your LASIK details, including procedure type, date, and pre-and post-LASIK vision records, aiding in tailored care.
  2. Adjusting Expectations: It’s essential for post-LASIK patients to have realistic expectations. While cataract surgery aims to restore clear vision, it might not always return vision to the level experienced immediately after LASIK.
  3. Risk Awareness: The primary risk post-cataract surgery in LASIK patients is incorrect IOL prescription, leading to blurred vision. Corrective measures may involve a new LASIK procedure or a new intraocular lens placement.
  4. Skilled Surgeons: It’s advisable to seek a cataract surgeon with experience handling cases for post-LASIK patients to ensure better management of any complexities that might arise.


Advantages of Cataract Surgery Following LASIK

Cataract surgery post-LASIK provides numerous benefits:

  • Improved Vision: By removing cloudy cataracts and inserting a clear IOL, your vision can greatly improve, restoring clarity.
  • Reduced Reliance on Glasses or Contacts: Cataract surgery can potentially correct any remaining refractive errors post-LASIK, potentially eliminating the need for glasses or contacts.
  • Enhanced Quality of Life: Clear vision can significantly enhance your daily life, enabling you to engage in activities you may have previously avoided due to blurry vision.


The Road to Clear Vision

Undergoing cataract surgery after LASIK is not only possible but also has a high success rate. With proper planning and expertise, you can look forward to regaining a clearer vision. Like with any medical procedure, staying informed about your options, discussing concerns with your eye care provider, and going into surgery with a positive mindset is crucial.

If you are experiencing early signs of cataracts after LASIK and are concerned about your eligibility for cataract surgery, speak with an ophthalmologist. They’ll provide the necessary assessment and guidance to help you make an informed decision and take the next step toward a clearer vision.

In conclusion, clear communication with your eye care professionals, comprehensive evaluations, and advanced surgical techniques contribute to successful cataract surgery outcomes for patients with a history of LASIK. It’s a pathway that has been tread by many, leading to restored vision and improved quality of life.


Book an Appointment

Contact Us For A Free Lasik Consultation

We promise to only answer your queries and to not bother you with any sales calls or texts.
Open chat
💬 Need Help ?
Hello 🙂 🙏 ,
Can we help you?