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LASIK and Cataract Surgery: Similarities and Differences

January 11, 2017

When people go in for a surgery or medical procedure, many of us like to know a little bit about what’s going to happen. It won’t affect the outcome, but it can be comforting to understand what the procedure entails. In regards to eye surgery, many people hear the word “laser” and think that it must be too complicated and over their heads. And yes, your doctor obviously knows much more about it than you do, but it doesn’t hurt to get a basic understanding of what actually happens during your LASIK procedure or cataract surgery.


During LASIK, the laser is used to cut a flap of tissue on the patient’s cornea. That flap is then pulled back, and the laser reshapes the cornea by removing or ablating tissue beneath the flap. That in turn allows the cornea to focus light more precisely on the retina. This means LASIK can be used to correct refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

Once the cornea has been reshaped, the corneal flap is replaced, and a protective shield is placed over the eye in order to keep the flap in place and allow it to properly heal. LASIK patients will also need regular follow up visits to monitor their vision after the procedure.

LASIK is a very popular surgery, and you probably know someone who’s had LASIK and no longer needs glasses or contacts.

Cataract Surgery

Cataracts are one of the most common vision problems that we encounter as we grow older. Even those with healthy vision may get cataracts as they age. Cataracts cloud the eye’s natural lens, making vision foggy or frosty. The good news is that they are very treatable, and cataract surgery is one of the most performed surgeries in the world.

During cataract surgery, an incision is made in the eye where the cornea and conjunctiva meet. Then, a very small probe is used that emits ultrasound waves. The ultrasound waves emulsify the cataract and remove the lens fragment. Lastly, a new, artificial lens is placed where the old lens was, allowing the patient to see clearly.

In the past, we would have told you that cataract surgery doesn’t actually use lasers like LASIK. For a long time, the incision was done with a blade, but that’s changed in recent years.

In fact, our own Dr. Silverman is one of a small group of surgeons worldwide who is certified to use, and has access to, two state-of-the-art femtosecond laser platforms. That means that he is now able to perform cataract surgery without the use of blades, making it even more precise and accurate than before.  Now, with refractive cataract surgery and premium IOLs, our patients are able to reduce their dependence on glasses for both near and far!

So whether you need cataract surgery, or want to talk about your options in regards to LASIK, you’ll find that OCLI has the most advanced, safest options available. So call today to set up a consultation and find out whether laser eye surgery is right for you.


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