Can I Have LASIK With Cataracts?


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If you are losing vision from cataracts, then LASIK will not help you. LASIK correct refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

This is because, during LASIK, the cornea is completely reshaped. Reshaping and removing corneal tissue is what allows the correction of refractive errors.

The cornea is the only part of the eye that is ever touched during LASIK. LASIK only corrects your current vision, and cannot fix an issue like cataracts.

Cataracts are an inevitable part of the aging process that results in vision loss. By removing them during cataract surgery, your vision can be completely restored!

Keep reading to learn more about why you can’t have LASIK if you have cataracts!

Selecting an IOL

Cataract surgery uses a technique called “refractive lens exchange”, or “RLE” for short. It is a tried and true method that can even correct refractive errors at the same time!

It does this by replacing your eyes natural lens with something called an “IOL”.

Intraocular lenses come in a few different varieties. These varieties determine how dependent on glasses you will be after cataract surgery.

Monofocal IOLs

Monofocal IOLs are the quintessential basic IOL. These lenses focus at a single distance that’s either near or far. This means that you’ll still need to rely on glasses after surgery to see at the other distance.

If you’re on a strict budget, monofocal IOLs are often the best choice. They have a lower price point and are the only IOL that most insurances cover.


A life that’s free of glasses can be possible by using a technique called monovision. Each eye is individually corrected with a monofocal IOL at opposite distances.

It may not work for everyone, but most people find it easy to learn how to switch between dominant eyes. Your doctor may recommend trying it with external contact lenses before.

IOLs are easy to replace with a follow-up procedure if you aren’t happy with your results.

Multifocal & Toric IOLs

Multifocal IOLs can allow you to see at both near and far distances without glasses. While they cost more than monofocal IOLs, many patients agree that the added benefit is worth it.

Accommodating IOLs are like multifocal IOLs with an added benefit. They actually move inside of the eye in a way that’s close to how your natural lens moves. This makes switching between near distance vision and far distance vision much smoother.

Toric IOLs are the only IOL designed for astigmatism. Normal IOLs can only affect nearsightedness or farsightedness. If you have astigmatism, a toric IOL is your best choice.

Why You Can’t Remove Cataracts Without RLE

Cataracts do not form from the eye, they form in the lens. This means that it is impossible to remove the cataract by itself.

A cataract is made up of proteins in the lens that slowly begin clumping together. This clumping can occur because of aging or injury and medical conditions.

When a cataract forms, it makes the lens less transparent and more yellow. This can cause light to refract in many directions, rather than one.

When this happens, it can create double vision and glare around lights. RLE involves removing the entire lens from the eye, which is where your cataract is.

Think you may be developing cataracts? Schedule a cataract screening at SightMD in Long Island, NY today!

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