Cataracts are a condition that cause a gradual clouding of the naturally clear lens of the eye. As cataracts develop, it is progressively more difficult to see clearly. Cataract surgery is the only effective treatment for cataracts.
Cataract surgery restores clear vision in most cases, but some people continue to experience refractive errors, which sometimes leads them to ask, “Can I undergo LASIK after cataract surgery?” LASIK reshapes the cornea to address the most common refractive errors and enhance vision. Here, Dr. Thomas J. Byrd, whose eye clinic serves Detroit, Dearborn Heights, and Lincoln Park, MI, discusses when LASIK may be an appropriate treatment for individuals who have undergone cataract surgery.
Cataract Surgery and Vision Correction
Cataract surgery is one of the most widely performed surgical procedures in the country. During a cataract surgery procedure the natural lens of the eye is removed and replaced with an intraocular lens, or IOL. IOLs are similar to contact lenses, but they are permanently attached to the eye. IOLs come in several different prescriptions, so they are meant to not only replace a lens that has been clouded over by a cataract, but also to provide vision correction for common refractive errors. Most people recover from cataract surgery with clearer vision and a greatly reduced dependence on eyeglasses.
Why Would I Need LASIK After Cataract Surgery?
Although cataract surgery effectively addresses refractive errors for the majority of patients, there are rare cases when refractive errors persist. This is often because the IOL has not lined up properly to meet the patient’s prescription needs. Residual refractive errors after cataract surgery are more common among patients who have previously undergone LASIK or PRK surgery, or those with other corneal irregularities. If cataract surgery does not provide the visual results that a patient desires, and they continue to be dependent on prescription eyeglasses, LASIK is likely the most appropriate solution.
How Quickly Can I Undergo LASIK After Cataract Surgery?
After cataract surgery patients need to give the eyes time to heal. It is also important to allow time for IOLs to settle and for patients to achieve their maximum surgical results before rushing into a LASIK procedure. That being said, individuals do not have to suffer with refractive errors for long. Most are considered suitable LASIK candidates within a few months after cataract surgery.
What to Expect During LASIK Treatment
LASIK after cataract surgery is very similar to a normal LASIK procedure. To start, the eye is numbed with anesthetic drops. Once the anesthetic has taken effect, a laser is used to create a small semi-circular flap in the cornea. The flap is lifted to allow access to underlying corneal tissues. A second laser then alters the tissues to reshape the cornea and eliminate irregularities that are responsible for nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. After corrections are made the flap is lowered so that tissues can heal naturally. LASIK provides nearly instant visual improvement, with continued enhancement as the eyes heal.
If you have undergone cataract surgery and are not completely satisfied with the vision results, LASIK may be the solution. To find out if you are an ideal candidate for LASIK, contact Byrd & Wyandotte Eye Clinic online, or call (734) 284-2444 and schedule an appointment.