LASIK and Cataract surgery are two of the most popular ocular surgeries today. Because we hear so much about both kinds of surgeries, it is common for people to get the two of them confused. People not only forget which surgery serves what purpose, but they wonder if both can be performed at the same time. For example, people with cataracts often ask if they should have LASIK to help with their vision loss. Although these two surgeries share some similarities, in truth they are two different procedures that correct vision in separate ways.
LASIK v. Cataract Surgery: The Differences
The most obvious difference between these two surgeries is in their purpose. LASIK surgery is meant to correct vision. It allows you to see well without glasses or contacts, and generally corrects distance vision. Cataract surgery corrects foggy vision, allowing you to see more clearly.
The next difference lies in how the two surgeries are performed. LASIK surgery aims to reshape the cornea, which in vision deficient patients can be football shaped. The doctor makes a small incision in the center of the cornea, allowing it to reshape itself into a more natural baseball shape. This changes the way the eye focuses light on the retina. During cataract surgery, by contrast, the doctor removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with a plastic implant called an Intraocular Lens (IOL.)
Another difference is that LASIK is performed at a laser center on an outpatient basis, while cataracts surgery is performed on an inpatient basis in an operating room. The doctor can perform LASIK surgery on both eyes during one session, but cataract surgery needs to be scheduled for each eye separately.
Finally, there are major differences in the way these surgeries are covered by insurance. LASIK surgery is not reimbursed by insurance. However, you may want to look into paying for surgery with a Flexible Savings Account (FSA.) Cataract surgery is covered by insurance, although there are various out of pocket costs that you may want to add on. These include premium IOLs and laser rather than diamond scalpel surgery.
LASIK v. Cataracts Surgery: The Similarities
Still, there are many things that these two surgeries have in common. LASIK surgery uses two kinds of lasers: one to create a corneal flap and another to change the corneal shape. If you elect to have a laser surgery to remover your cataracts, one of these types of lasers will be used to remove the natural lens from the eye.
Other similarities are that both surgeries provide patients with 20/20 vision or better. They are both performed under general anesthesia while awake, require less than 15 minutes to perform, and boast of virtually no recovery time.
Can You Have LASIK and Cataract Surgeries on the Same Eye?
Yes. Since LASIK works on the cornea and cataract surgery works on the lens, it is possible to have both surgeries on the same eye if the doctors find you need to. Although it is less common, you can even undergo both procedures at the same time. Sometimes, when undergoing cataract surgery, the doctor finds that vision is still not perfect even after applying the IOL. In these cases, they may provide LASIK surgery to complete the procedure and provide the patient with 20/20 vision.
LASIK surgery addresses myopia, astigmatism or hyperopia. These are issues which are usually addressed at a younger age. Cataracts are the clouding of the lens, a condition which generally occurs with old age. Therefore, most people receive LASIK surgery when they are younger and cataract surgery when they are older.
Cataract and LASIK Surgery in Orange County
Visit Advanced Eye Medical for a LASIK screening or complete eye exam to find out if you are a candidate for either cataract or LASIK surgery in Orange County. Schedule your appointment or come in for a consultation.