LASIK vs. Cataract Surgery: What’s the Difference?

Not all eye surgeries are the same. Take LASIK and cataract surgery, for example. Both improve the vision, but the reasons for surgery and the methods used for correction are dramatically different. 

How are LASIK and cataract surgery different? Which option is best for you?

Understanding Cataract Surgery

Cataracts are a progressive clouding of the lens. Typically, it takes many years for symptoms to develop and progress. Common symptoms include faded colors, blurry vision, sensitivity to bright lights, and trouble seeing at night. If left untreated, these symptoms will progress and may lead to blindness and vision loss. 

Cataracts are very common, with millions of people worldwide affected by this condition. They are a leading cause of blindness and are responsible for 50% of all cases of blindness and a third of all vision loss. 

Aging is a primary cause of cataracts, but trauma to the eye, genetics, and UV exposure can all contribute to cataract formation. Lower your risk for cataracts by wearing sunglasses, eating a healthy diet, and not smoking. 

Cataracts can cause devastating effects on vision, but they are treatable. Curing cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens.

LASIK Basics

If you wear glasses or contacts, you are probably a good candidate for LASIK surgery. LASIK corrects nearsightedness and farsightedness by reshaping the cornea. The cornea refracts light into the eye. When it is misshapen, refractive errors occur. LASIK reshapes the eye to correct refractive errors and improve vision. 

In LASIK surgery, a thin flap is cut across the surface of the eye using an advanced laser. The flap is pulled back to expose the cornea and a laser carefully reshapes it. 

Refractive errors are common, and very effectively treated with LASIK surgery. Our state-of-the-art LASIK technology allows us to correct advanced refractive errors, often achieving results that are superior to the correction achieved using glasses or contacts.

LASIK or Cataract Surgery: Which Treatment Do I Need?

Choosing which treatment you need is a decision you’ll make with your eye doctor. 

You may benefit from cataract surgery if you have:

  • Blurry vision
  • Hazy vision
  • Clouding to the lens

You may benefit from LASIK surgery if you have:

  • Nearsightedness
  • Farsightedness
  • Astigmatism

Good candidates for LASIK have a stable prescription and are not currently pregnant. Some medical conditions may disqualify you from LASIK surgery. Come in for a consultation and Dr. Will can help you determine if you’re a candidate. 

If you’re unsure which treatment you need, schedule a visit with your eye doctor. After examining your eyes, they can determine which procedure you need to optimize your vision. Regular visits with your eye doctor also help to maintain eye health by catching problems early and ensuring prompt treatment. 

If LASIK or cataract surgery won’t correct your vision problems, other options are available. For instance, we use corneal inlays to treat presbyopia and offer specialized treatments for dry eye symptoms. There are many options available to address your vision concerns.

Can I Have Both LASIK and Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery and LASIK both improve vision, but they target different problems. Some patients can benefit from both types of surgery. The specialized lens used for cataract surgery will often correct nearsightedness and farsightedness but does not treat astigmatism. LASIK can be used to address astigmatism. 

Learn more about LASIK surgery in the Pacific Northwest by contacting Will Vision and Laser Centers. We have convenient locations in both Salem, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington.