Can You Have Lasik If You Have Cataracts?

Are you considering LASIK surgery but wondering if it’s still an option if you have cataracts? 

It’s a common question among those seeking vision correction. LASIK, short for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, is a popular procedure for correcting refractive errors. On the other hand, cataracts involve clouding of the natural lens of the eye, causing blurry vision and difficulty seeing clearly. So, can LASIK be performed if you have cataracts? Buckle up, and get ready to empower yourself with knowledge about your eyes!


Understanding Cataracts and LASIK:

First, let’s grasp what cataracts and LASIK entail:


Cataracts develop when the proteins in the eye’s lens start to clump together, causing cloudiness of the natural lens inside the eye. The lens plays a crucial role in focusing light onto the retina, which is the light-sensitive layer located at the back of your eye. However, as cataracts develop, they gradually cloud the lens, leading to a decline in vision quality and making it increasingly challenging to see clearly. While cataracts are commonly associated with ageing, they can also occur due to factors like genetics, diabetes, smoking, and prolonged exposure to sunlight.


LASIK Surgery:

LASIK is a refractive surgery that reshapes the cornea—the clear, front part of the eye—to tackle refractive errors. These errors occur when your eye doesn’t focus light correctly onto the retina, leading to conditions like:

  • Nearsightedness: Difficulty seeing distant objects clearly.
  • Farsightedness: Trouble focusing on close-up objects.
  • Astigmatism: Blurred vision at all distances.


Here’s how LASIK works its magic:

During the procedure, a precise laser or blade is used to create a thin flap in the outer layer of the cornea, which is then lifted to reshape the underlying tissue using another layer. By altering the cornea’s shape, LASIK aims to improve the way light rays are focused onto the retina, thus correcting vision and potentially reducing or eliminating your dependence on glasses or contact lenses. The reshaped corneal flap is carefully placed back in position, where it naturally adheres without stitches.


Can LASIK Be Done If You Have Cataracts?

Now, the crucial question: can LASIK be performed if you have cataracts? 

The short answer is no. LASIK is not suitable for individuals with cataracts because it targets the cornea, not the lens affected by cataracts. 

  • Cataracts Affect the Lens, Not the Cornea: It’s essential to recognise that LASIK primarily targets issues related to the cornea’s shape and refractive errors, rather than addressing conditions within the lens itself. Therefore, if a cataract clouds the lens, LASIK may not be a suitable solution for vision correction.
  • Limited Effectiveness: LASIK primarily targets the cornea and does not address the underlying cataract. Therefore, any vision improvement achieved through LASIK would be temporary, as the cataract would continue to progress, eventually clouding vision regardless of the corneal reshaping performed by LASIK.
  • Accuracy Concerns: LASIK outcomes rely heavily on the stability of the cornea. The presence of cataracts can introduce instability within the eye, potentially compromising the precision of the LASIK procedure and raising concerns about the accuracy of vision correction outcomes.
  • Safety Risks: LASIK entails the creation of a corneal flap, a delicate step in the procedure. The presence of a cataract can heighten the risk of complications during the creation or healing of this flap, potentially increasing the overall safety risks associated with LASIK in individuals with cataracts.

However, having cataracts doesn’t mean you’re out of options for vision correction. If you have both cataracts and refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, your ophthalmologist may recommend a different approach, such as:

  1. Cataract Surgery with Lens Implantation: Cataract surgery involves removing the clouded natural lens and implanting an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) within the lens capsule, the natural sac that holds the original lens. During this surgery, the ophthalmologist can choose an IOL that corrects your refractive error, reducing or even eliminating the need for glasses or contacts after the procedure. This approach effectively addresses both cataracts and refractive errors simultaneously. Thus, this eliminates the need for LASIK altogether.
  2. Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE): RLE is similar to cataract surgery but is performed on clear lenses with refractive errors. Instead of waiting for cataracts to develop, individuals with significant refractive errors may opt for RLE to replace their natural lenses with artificial ones that correct their vision.


 What to Expect from Cataract Surgery:

If you have cataracts and require vision correction, cataract surgery with lens implantation is a viable option. Here’s what to anticipate from the procedure:

  1. Pre-operative Evaluation: Your ophthalmologist will conduct a comprehensive eye examination to assess the severity of your cataracts and determine the most suitable IOL for your needs.
  2. Surgery Day: Cataract surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis and doesn’t require an overnight hospital stay. The procedure itself is quick, usually lasting around 15 to 30 minutes per eye.
  3. Recovery: Most patients experience improved vision within a few days after surgery, although full recovery may take several weeks. You may need to use prescribed eye drops to prevent infection and aid healing during the recovery period.
  4. Post-operative Care: Your ophthalmologist will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your progress and ensure that your eyes are healing properly. During these visits, any residual refractive errors can be addressed with glasses, contact lenses, or additional procedures if necessary.


The Future of Vision Correction: A Promising Outlook

While LASIK may not be a viable option for individuals with cataracts, there is optimism on the horizon. Researchers are actively investigating innovative approaches that merge cataract surgery with corneal reshaping techniques. This promising development aims to streamline vision correction by offering comprehensive treatment in a single procedure.


The Takeaway: Knowledge Empowers You

In conclusion, LASIK surgery is not suitable for individuals with cataracts because it targets the cornea rather than the lens affected by cataracts. However, if you have both cataracts and refractive errors, there are alternative options available, such as cataract surgery with lens implantation or refractive lens exchange. These procedures not only address cataracts but also correct refractive errors, allowing you to enjoy improved vision without the need for glasses or contacts. If you’re considering vision correction surgery, it’s essential to consult with a qualified ophthalmologist who can evaluate your individual needs and recommend the most appropriate treatment option for you. With advancements in technology and surgical techniques, achieving clearer vision—even with cataracts—is entirely possible. Don’t allow vision issues to hinder your ability to live life to the fullest.


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?