Will LASIK Reshaping of the Cornea Lessen the Risk for Cataracts?

Does LASIK surgery lessens the risk of developing cataracts at a later date? How likely will someone need cataract surgery sometime after hyperopic LASIK?

Doctor Answers 4

LASIK causing Cataracts? No

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Having LASIK surgery does not increase one's risk of developing cataracts in the future.  It does not decrease the risk either.  

LASIK prior to cataract surgery does effect the calculations required to determine the power of the implant (IOL) used to replace the eye's natural lens (which is removed during cataract surgery.)

This means that there is a greater chance of needing glasses following cataract surgery.  This can usually be corrected by doing a LASIK enhancement folowing cataract surgery if the Rx is small, or by implanting another IOL if the Rx is large.

West Orange Ophthalmologist

LASIK and Cataracts

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LASIK surgery is performed on the cornea, which is on the outside of the eye, and cataract surgery involves the lens of the eye, which is located inside of the eye behind the colored (iris) of the eye.  A cataract is when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy.  LASIK should give good vision for distance until cataracts develop.  This generally occurs in your 60's, 70's or 80's.  Everyone who lives long enough will eventually develop cataracts and LASIK will have no effect on their development.  It is very helpful to your cataract surgeon for you to know the original measurements of your eye before your LASIK procedure.  This is something that you should obtain from your LASIK center.

Mark Golden, MD
Chicago Ophthalmologist

Will LASIK Reduce My Chance of Developing Cataracts

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A cataract is an opacity in the natural lens inside your eye while LASIK is a vision correcting procedure which reduces one's need for glasses and/or contact lenses by reshaping the front surface of the eye, known as the cornea.  Treating one's refractive error should have little effect on your chances of developing cataracts, although by the time we are in our 80's, 1/2 of the population either has cataracts or has had cataract surgery.  Continue to seek care of an eye care provider to examine the health of your eyes after LASIK so you can be monitored for ocular disesases.  

Sandy Feldman, MD
San Diego Ophthalmologist

LASIK and Cataracts

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Laser Vision Correction(Lasik and PRK) is performed on the outer surface of the eye, which is the cornea. There is no relation between Lasik and cataract development. Cataracts occur in the lens of the eye, which resides behind the cornea. While Lasik has not been related in any way with cataracts, the human lens tends to become a cataract as we get older. The average age for the beginning signs of cataract formation is 60-65. There are some families, however, who develop cataracts at younger ages, but Lasik would not accelerate cataract formation one bit. Developing a good relationship with your Ophthalmologist is a good idea, especially if cataracts run in your family. I don't feel, however, that you should avoid Lasik because of your family history.

Anthony J. Kameen, MD
Baltimore Ophthalmologist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.