LASIK and Cataract Surgery – The Difference

Providing crystal clear vision to Sacramento, Roseville, Folsom, Stockton & nearby areas of California

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Although both LASIK and cataract surgery can do wonders to improve your vision, there are some basic differences.

Cataracts are generally caused by age, but other causes include:

  • Trauma to the eye
  • Heredity
  • Exposure to UV radiation
  • Eye disease
  • Certain medications
  • Medical conditions such as diabetes

Cataracts cannot be prevented. They are currently the leading cause of treatable blindness.

Cataracts are treated by removing the natural lens and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). The monofocal lens is standard, but the patient may choose the multifocal lens, such as ReSTOR to be less dependent on glasses. The monofocal lens corrects for one distance only. For example, it may correct nearsightedness, but not farsightedness, so you may need to continue wearing glasses to see at the uncorrected distance. A multifocal lens, however, improves distance and much of your close up vision so you can rely less on glasses. Each solution offers advantages and disadvantages. Discuss the issue frankly with your Sacramento LASIK eye surgeon to determine the treatment course that is right for you.

Whereas cataract surgery involves replacing the natural lens with one that is artificial, LASIK uses a laser beam to reshape the cornea so that your eye can focus naturally on near and far objects without corrective lenses. LASIK treats nearsightedness, farsightedness, presbyopia and astigmatism. LASIK patients can see well without glasses or contacts, although some require them part time for activities such as night driving.

The IOL used in cataract surgery corrects nearsightedness and farsightedness but generally does not correct astigmatism. Additional surgery, such as LASIK or PRK can treat astigmatism after cataract surgery has been performed.

One common misconception is that a laser is used to perform cataract surgery. The truth is that cataract surgery is performed with numbing eye drops and ultrasound for the fastest recovery time. For some patients however, a condition called 'secondary cataracts' may develop years after the initial cataract surgery. For this group of patients, lasers may be used to correct this condition.

Discover how LASIK can bring your world into focus. If you are considering LASIK, call Griffin & Reed Eye Care at (916) 485-2020 or fill out our online contact form.