Q&A with OCLI: LASIK or Cataract Surgery?

Q: Why would my eye doctor tell me I can’t have LASIK if I have the beginning signs of cataracts?

A: The cornea, or clear front portion of your eye, and the lens within your eye make up your eye’s optical system. If either the cornea or the lens is damaged or diseased, you most likely will not have good vision. When LASIK is performed, the surgeon uses a laser to gently and precisely reshape the cornea, which in turn treats nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, thus reducing or eliminating the need for glasses or contact lenses. LASIK is designed to only treat visual errors that occur in the cornea.

If you have the beginning signs of cataracts, your surgeon probably believes that if they correct your visual errors with LASIK, then you would still have vision problems due to a cataract occurring within your lens. And your surgeon would be correct! If you have cataracts, it is best to remove it in lieu of performing LASIK. Your surgeon can remove the cataract and then afterwards, place an artificial lens within the eye that is tailored to your unique prescription. Most patients that undergo cataract surgery see very well in the distance, especially if they undergo residual astigmatism correction. You could even elect to have a premium lens implant placed within the eye, which could reduce or even eliminate your need for reading glasses or bifocals.

Cataract surgery will fill two needs with one deed: removing your cataract while also reducing or eliminating your nearsightedness or farsightedness.

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