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Can I Have Cataract Surgery after LASIK?

Written by Shannon Wong on November 14, 2018

Cataract Surgery after LASIKIt is a common misconception that patients cannot undergo cataract surgery after having had LASIK. But the truth is that cataract surgery is safe for former LASIK patients. Here, the expert vision team at Austin Eye discusses the topic in more detail.

LASIK and Cataract Surgery Treat Different Parts of the Eye

LASIK and cataract surgery treat different parts of the eye and completely different vision problems.

LASIK corrects common refractive errors (i.e., myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism) by reshaping the cornea, which is the outermost layer of eye. Reshaping the cornea allows light to enter the eye so it can be properly focused onto the retina (the layer in the back of the eye that contains light-sensitive cells) for improved vision.

Cataract surgery addresses the clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which is located behind the iris of the eye. Normally, the natural lens is clear, but when it develops a cataract, it becomes opaque or cloudy. During surgery, the natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) to restore clear vision.

Some individuals who choose to undergo LASIK will need to have cataract surgery later in life, as the eye condition typically occurs among older adults. It is also possible to have LASIK done after cataract surgery. However, this is becoming less common thanks to advances in IOL technology. In addition to addressing cataracts, today’s IOLs can correct certain refractive errors, potentially eliminating the need for LASIK and other laser vision correction procedures after cataract surgery.

Special Considerations

Prior to cataract surgery, you and your surgeon will select an IOL that best suits your visual needs, lifestyle and personal preferences. This process is relatively straightforward among patients who have not previously undergone laser vision correction. But for former LASIK patients, the process requires extra steps in order to ensure the most precise visual outcome. In these cases, it is important for your cataract surgeon to have complete records of your vision, before and after LASIK, so they can identify the correct lens power for your IOL.

To learn more about LASIK or cataract surgery, please schedule a consultation with one of the board certified ophthalmologists at Austin Eye. Contact us by calling our North office at (512) 250-2020 or our Central office at (512) 454-2020.