LASIK after Cataract Surgery

LASIK after cataract surgery gives patients who require glasses after the placement of their IOLs a chance to fine-tune and possibly perfect their vision.

IOLs Don't Always Eliminate the Need for Glasses

Doctor consulting with a patient

Some patients, however, continue to require glasses or contacts to see clearly even after their premium IOLs have been implanted. While their vision may be vastly improved after the removal of their cataracts, residual refractive errors keep them reliant on external lenses. It is with these patients in mind that North Shore Eye Care offers LASIK after cataract surgery at each of our six Long Island locations.

Video: LASIK Surgery & Recovery

LASIK surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Martin explains what you can expect during and after your LASIK surgery.

Premium IOLs Improve Vision Dramatically

Premium IOLs allow many patients to discard their glasses and contact lenses for good after cataract surgery. Some may continue to use glasses when they need to "fine tune" their vision to its most precise, such as when they are reading, driving, or watching television. Indeed, many of these people are so accustomed to wearing glasses that they don't mind having to continue wearing them after the removal of their cataracts.

However, other patients find it frustrating to come this close to having excellent unaided vision with their multifocal IOLs, but still have to rely on glasses for certain activities. They want to be visually independent.

If you are one of these patients, LASIK after cataract surgery offers a potentially ideal solution.

The Process

Chances are that most people who are reading this page right now have already undergone cataract surgery and are dissatisfied with their post-operative vision. If this is true in your case, your experience at North Shore Eye Care will proceed along these general lines:

  • Post Cataract Surgery - Before LASIK can even be considered as a possibility after cataract surgery, it is important that the patient's eyes have fully healed. Typically, patients must wait approximately three months after the removal of their cataracts to become suitable candidates for laser vision correction.
  • Diagnosis and Screening - Our eye surgeons must also diagnose the cause of a patient's post-surgical vision problems. Patients with residual refractive errors will then be screened to determine their candidacy for LASIK. Alternative procedures will be discussed with those who are not suitable candidates.
  • Preparation for LASIK - LASIK patients first have highly detailed maps created of their eyes, which are used to guide the VISX Star S4™ excimer laser during surgery. Using CustomVue WaveScan® technology, even the smallest flaws in the cornea are accounted for,  ensuring truly customized treatment.
  • LASIK Eye Surgery - At North Shore Eye Care, we use IntraLase® technology to make LASIK after cataract surgery a completely blade-free procedure. In a matter of seconds per eye, our wavefront-guided laser is able to treat any lingering flaws in the shape of the cornea with unrivaled precision.

Q&A: Focus on LASIK after Cataract Surgery

Q: What are my options if I am not a good candidate for LASIK after cataract surgery?

A: The vast majority of our cataract surgery patients are qualified to undergo LASIK. This is largely because we use the IntraLase® method of creating the corneal flap associated with LASIK surgery. Those patients who are not qualified to undergo LASIK may still be good candidates for PRK, which does not require the creation of a flap but produces similarly excellent results.

Q: Are there any special risks to undergoing LASIK after cataract surgery?

A: There are risks associated with any surgical procedure, including LASIK. However, our experienced surgeons are meticulous in screening candidates for any procedure before recommending it. In general, LASIK after cataract surgery is extremely safe for qualified candidates, and if our doctors recommend it to you, you can rest assured that you are very qualified.

Some patients experience spikes in eye pressure after their cataracts have been removed. These spikes are usually temporary; however, it is best to wait until eye pressure has stabilized before undergoing LASIK. For patients who continue to experience elevated eye pressure after cataract surgery, conventional LASIK is not usually recommended, as there is evidence that the microkeratome used in the procedure may cause a rise in eye pressure in certain patients.  However, these patients may be good candidates for all-laser iLASIK at North Shore Eye Care.

Q: My vision was initially good after cataract surgery, but it has become blurry since then. Will LASIK help?

A: To answer this question specifically, our eye surgeons would have to perform a thorough evaluation of your eyes. In general, however, LASIK will only be effective on patients who have residual refractive errors after cataract surgery. If your vision has gradually become worse after the placement of your IOL, you may suffer from posterior capsule opacity, often referred to as "secondary cataracts." Don't worry - cataracts cannot return after your natural lenses have been removed. Posterior capsule opacity refers to the clouding of the membrane that was once part of your natural lens and now supports your IOL.

This condition is fairly common and very easily treated. In an extremely safe and quick procedure called capsulotomy, we use a YAG laser to remove the haziness and restore clarity to your vision. The results are immediate, and you will be able to resume your normal activities on the day of your procedure.

86% Of Cataract
Patients
No longer needed glasses after LASIK* *Orkun Muftuoglu, MD, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas