Can You Have LASIK Surgery If You Have Cataracts?

LASIK is an excellent option if you do not want to keep using glasses or contacts to correct your vision. It is great to be able to leave these behind and embrace an entirely new way of life. But you may be wondering if you have cataracts if it will hinder the effectiveness of LASIK?


What Are Cataracts?


A cataract refers to the usually transparent lens of the eye becoming cloudy. When you have cataracts, your vision is comparable to a person trying to see through a foggy window. It becomes difficult for you to do other activities like reading and driving, even seeing facial expressions.


Cataracts usually develop gradually and, in the beginning, will not disturb your eyes or vision. With time, they become worse and affect the quality of your vision.


Usually, glasses and stronger lighting can help you manage the effects of cataracts at first. But if they impair your vision, you might require cataract surgery. Luckily, cataract surgery is relatively common and is very safe.


What Is LASIK?


LASIK is the most common and best-known surgery to correct refractive errors. Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis is an excellent alternative to contact lenses or glasses. 


During LASIK surgery, a unique laser cuts and changes the shape of the cornea. It helps improve the ability of the eye to refract light into the eye. The cornea bends light into the eye and onto the retina with a normal eye. It is not the case with refractive vision issues.


LASIK and Cataracts


Although LASIK corrects refractive errors of the eye, it cannot fix the blurriness caused by cataracts. LASIK surgery employs an excimer laser to reshape the cornea, but it is ineffective with the lens.


Most people have cataracts throughout their life that do not affect their vision. After cataract surgery, these clients require glasses or contacts to see clearly. These patients could still be good candidates for LASIK.


  • Congenital Cataracts and LASIK


Congenital cataracts are the main exception where LASIK would be a poor option. Congenital cataracts are cataracts that appear at birth. The natural lens is cloudy, affecting your vision to a certain extent. You can have cataract surgery to correct the issue. 


For a person with congenital cataracts to have LASIK, the cataracts need to be stable. Their cataracts should not impede their vision too much. The only way to know if you are a candidate for LASIK is to have a comprehensive eye exam. Your Shepard Eye Center eye doctor can tell you if your cataracts will stop you from getting LASIK.


  • Age-related Cataracts


Age-related cataracts are never stable. This means that people with age-related cataracts may not be candidates for LASIK because this type of cataract gets worse over time. The most common surgery recommended for this type of cataract is a multi-corrective approach. Here, your surgeon replaces the lens with a premium interocular lens.


For more on LASIK surgery and cataracts, call Shepard Eye Center at our offices in Santa Maria (805) 667-0100, Lompoc (805) 793-1800, Solvang (805) 410-9998, or Orcutt (805) 937-9532.