Question: I have been told I need cataract surgery in both eyes, mostly the right eye for now. About 12 years ago I had LASIK surgery and am very concerned about having cataract surgery with an Intraocular Lens Implant (IOL). Can you just have the cataract removed without the IOL?
Answer: Cataract Surgery after LASIK is becoming more and more common the "baby boomer" population that had LASIK 10-15 years ago are now moving into their 50's and 60's. Further Cataract Surgery with Intraocular Lens Implantation (IOL) after LASIK is becoming more and more precise as superior measurement technology and testing procedures have become available.
Here is what you need to know. There are two primary goals of Cataract Surgery. First, your Cataract Surgeon needs to remove the crystalline lens in your eye which has become cloudy and formed a Cataract. As the name implies, the "crystalline lens" is an actual lens with an actual optical power. Thus the second goal of Cataract Surgery is to replace the optical power that was removed by extracting the crystalline lens and the Cataract. This is accomplished by implanting a tiny artificial plastic lens-an intraocular lens implant or "IOL"-at the time the Cataract is removed. The power or prescription of the lens implant needs to be carefully measured for and calculated as part of your preoperative cataract Surgery workup. Having previously had LASIK does add a certain degree of complexity to the measurements for the calculation of the lens implant power to be used. Today, Cataract & Refractive Surgeons can use very sophisticated instrumentation to increase the precision of these measurements in order to hopefully help you be "glasses free" for at distance after your Cataract Surgery as you probably were after your LASIK Surgery. What might be of help to your Cataract Surgeon is to provide them with a set of your preoperative LASIK examination records and measurements including your original refraction or prescription, your keratometric readings ("K's"), your corneal thickness and the status of your tear film.
Equally if not more important is how you go about choosing a Cataract Surgeon. For someone who has had LASIK and now needs Cataract Surgery and Lens Implantation it would make sense to choose not only the best Cataract Surgeon but also to choose someone is a top LASIK Surgeon. It is preferable to choose an eye surgeon who is BOTH a Cataract & Refractive Surgeon and experienced in the subtleties and complexities of both procedures as they relate to each other. Ideally if your original LASIK Surgeon is also an experienced cataract Surgeon and he or she already has access to your original records this would be a good choice. Most Cataract patients today who have previously had LASIK are quite pleased with their results. Choosing the best Cataract & Refractive Surgeon will help you get there.
Important Note: The information presented on the About Cataract Surgery Blog or provided in response to a request for information in the Ask Cataract Surgeons section on www.aboutcataractsurgery.com is not intended to diagnose or treat eye problems, eye conditions or eye diseases including appropriateness of treatment, risks, complications or side effects as related to Cataracts, Cataract Surgery of Lens Implants. In particular a response to an inquiry made on the Ask Cataract Surgeons section of www.aboutcataractsurgery.com is not meant to take the place of the professional medical care provided by your eye doctor, ophthalmologist and Cataract Surgeon surgeon. Contacting us via e-mail or any other means is not a substitute for medical care.