So you had LASIK surgery to improve your distance vision and now you find yourself years later with a cataract. You may have heard the swirling rumors and myths about not being able to have cataract surgery post LASIK and they’ve got you worried. Well, rest assured. For most people who have had LASIK (or other types of refractive surgery), successful cataract surgery is possible.
What’s The Difference Between LASIK And Cataract Surgery?
The difference in the two surgeries lies in which part of the eye is treated. LASIK surgery is a laser procedure that corrects vision by reshaping the cornea (the front part of the eye). Cataract surgery, on the other hand, involves removing the eye’s lens (inside the eye) and replacing it with an artificial one known as an intraocular lens or IOL. LASIK treats the cornea and cataract surgery treats the lens. So it is entirely possible to successfully have both procedures.
What Information Should You Share With Your Surgeon?
If you are one of the many people undergoing cataract surgery after LASIK surgery, it is important to provide your cataract surgeon with complete records of your vision prior to LASIK surgery. This will help your surgeon to select the correctly powered IOL for you. It will take some additional calculations and an accurate measurement of the curvature of your cornea before LASIK for your surgeon to select the proper lens. If you haven’t undergone LASIK yet but are planning to, be sure to ask for copies of all the information recorded by your eye doctor. This may be helpful in the future.
What If I Don’t Have My Vision Records?
If you don’t have your medical records and you cannot get copies of them, you can still have cataract surgery. However, having access to your medical records can be helpful for your cataract surgeon.
Is There Anything Else I Should Know?
For patients who previously had LASIK, the process of selecting an IOL is not as precise as it is for those who haven’t had refractive surgery. But surgeons have a number of compensatory methods, many of which involve averaging different measurements including those taken before refractive surgery. Different methods have varying degrees of success. This is why it’s important to talk with your doctor and share as much information as possible in your preoperative discussion. Be sure to get regular eye exams as well. Early detection is the best way to make sure you keep seeing clearly for years to come.