Cataracts In Patients Who’ve Had LASIK

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LASIK is a life changing procedure. It reduces or eliminates the need for glasses and contacts for many years. But as you approach your 50s or 60s, you might start to notice your vision decline again. The eye doctor might say you need cataract surgery. But you’ve had eye surgery already. What’s the difference? Can you have cataract surgery if you had LASIK when you were younger?

Short answer: Yes

Difference between LASIK and Cataract Surgery

During LASIK, the front part of your eye, the cornea, is treated with a laser and reshaped to help focus light better in your eye, correcting what’s called refractive error (aka nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism). LASIK is usually best for people between 18-40.

After 40, the lens inside the eye, which is located behind the pupil, starts to slowly lose its flexibility which makes it hard to see things up close (this is called presbyopia). This happens to everyone. Eventually the lens begins to cloud over and form a cataract. Vision becomes darker and hazy as well as blurred. The only way to correct a cataract is to have surgery. During cataract surgery, the lens is removed and replaced, restoring brightness and clarity to your vision.

The difference between Cataract Surgery and LASIK, most basically, is one is performed on the front surface of the eye, and the other is performed inside the eye.

Cataract Surgery after LASIK

LASIK became an exciting option for people to get rid of glasses and contacts more than 20 years ago. Now, some of them need cataract surgery. Special care must be taken when a person with cataracts has had previous LASIK, because the cornea has been reshaped and may be thinner than before LASIK. Calculations for the new lens are slightly different than in someone who hasn’t had LASIK.

Our expert team at Chu Vision Institute takes precise measurements of your eyes to match you to the right lens replacement option for you. Today there are many lens implant options that not only replace the cloudy cataract lens with a clear lens, but also can correct your vision at all ranges: distance, intermediate (like your dashboard or computer screen), and at near (reading vision). While we offer a wide range of lens options for our patients, some patients who have had LASIK might not qualify for the most advanced lens options.

For some people, this means they will only qualify for a monofocal lens implant. This is a lens that gives you clear vision at one focal point, usually in the distance. But you may still need to use reading glasses after cataract surgery.

Should I get Cataract surgery if I’ve had LASIK?

Having had LASIK in the past isn’t a reason to not have surgery. Dr. Chu has performed countless successful cataract surgeries on patients who have had LASIK or another previous refractive surgery. Our team takes great care to ensure the safety of your eyes, whether you’ve had laser vision correction or not.

If you need cataract surgery in the Twin Cities, call our team at Chu Vision Institute and we can get you started on your journey to clearer vision!


Find your true north with New Vision.

Dr. Ralph Chu LASIK surgeon Minneapolis Ophthalmologists

Board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Ralph Chu is a fellowship-trained corneal specialist and a nationally recognized leader in refractive and cataract procedures. His specialty areas include cataract, LASIK, cornea, and minimally invasive glaucoma surgeries for patients in the Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Twin Cities areas.

Posted on October 12, 2022

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