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Can I Have LASIK If I Have Cataracts?


LASIK surgery does not correct vision loss caused by cataracts. Also, most cataracts worsen over time, requiring cataract surgery. For these reasons, LASIK generally is not recommended for people who have cataracts.

But there are some exceptions to this rule. If you have small congenital cataracts that are stable and are not significantly affecting your vision, LASIK may still be a possibility. It depends on the size and stability of these unusual, present-at-birth cataracts and your best visual acuity with eyeglasses that correct your nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism. Your eye doctor can advise you on whether you are a good candidate for LASIK, despite having congenital cataracts or other mild, stable cataracts.

If you have the more typical age-related cataracts that tend to worsen over time, when it comes time to have surgery, your cataract surgeon can correct your refractive error and presbyopia at the same time with premium intraocular lenses (IOLs).

Though this type of refractive cataract surgery may involve additional out-of-pocket costs beyond what your health or vision insurance covers for the cost of cataract surgery, you will have the added benefit of being less dependent on eyeglasses after cataract surgery.

Be sure to ask about this option during your comprehensive eye exam and consultation prior to your cataract surgery.

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Dr. Vance ThompsonAbout the Author: Vance Thompson, MD, FACS, is the director of refractive surgery at Vance Thompson Vision in Sioux Falls, S.D. He also is professor of ophthalmology at the Sanford USD School of Medicine, a leading researcher in technologies for laser and implant vision correction and a member of All About Vision's editorial advisory board.

Page updated March 2018