Can I Get LASIK If I Have Cataracts?

It’s almost inevitable that you will get cataracts. As we age, the crystalline lens in our eye becomes cloudy. If your cataract gets big enough, you’ll experience loss of vision. If this occurs, you’ll need to get cataract surgery. If you have cataracts, you should not get a procedure like LASIK. Keep reading to learn why!


LASIK Surgery

LASIK is a surgery designed to reshape your cornea with a laser. LASIK corrects refractive errors like farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism. When undergoing LASIK, the cornea is permanently reshaped. By reshaping the cornea, refractive errors are corrected.

The shape of your cornea is what determines how light is refracted and received by your retina. By altering the shape of your cornea, LASIK fixes how your eye refracts light.



Cataracts occur when the crystalline lens under your cornea becomes cloudy. If you have a cataract, it limits how much light passes through the lens. Getting LASIK with cataracts won’t help fix your nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. Only the cornea gets reshaped during LASIK.

To reverse your vision loss from cataracts, you need to replace the lens with an artificial lens, or IOL. Because of this, doctors don’t perform LASIK on a person with advanced cataracts. There are a few exceptions to this.

They can include if you were born with congenital cataracts or if you have stable cataracts. But for the most part, if you have cataracts, you can’t have LASIK until they get removed. But the good news is, you may not need LASIK once your cataracts are removed.


Cataract Surgery and Refractive Lens Exchange

Cataract surgery is a procedure that removes your cataract and replaces the lens. When the lens gets removed, it’s replaced with an IOL. IOLs come in several varieties.

When getting cataract surgery, you should consider what kind of lifestyle you’ll lead. IOLs have different functions, depending on which kind you choose.

If you’re comfortable wearing reading glasses, you may want standard monofocal IOLs. If you’re looking for vision correction without glasses or contacts, a premium IOL may be best. Premium IOLs allow you to see both up close and far away.

There is even a type of lens called a toric IOL that can correct astigmatism if you have one. With a toric IOL, an alternative to LASIK called a Refractive Lens Exchange is performed.  The only difference between RLE and cataract surgery is that you don’t need to have cataracts for RLE. You can have cataract surgery and correct your vision at the same time.

There is a chance that after cataract surgery, your IOL may not correct your vision. In these cases, you can get LASIK to perfect your vision. It is more common that patients who correct their vision after cataract surgery get PRK. Ask your cataract surgeon for more details about this vision correction procedure!

Want to learn more about cataract surgery and LASIK? Contact the doctors at Sugiki Portis Yim Eye Center for an appointment today!

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