Lasik is a popular laser eye surgery used for correcting vision in people who have astigmatism, nearsighted or farsighted. This procedure works by reshaping the clear part of the front of the eye, a part known as the cornea, to allow acute focusing of light travelling through the eye and onto the retina which is located at the inside back part of the eye. While Lasik is a corneal procedure, cataract surgery involves removal of the lens from inside of the eye. In most cases, following the removal of this natural lens, it is replaced with an artificial lens made up of an inert plastic material (polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA)). The term “Cataract” is used where there is clouding or discoloration of the clear natural lens in the eye, affecting the visual acuity of the patient. Both Cataract surgery and Lasik surgeries are performed by ophthalmologists as an outpatient procedure. Both of these procedures are generally very successful procedures.
The numbing drops used in the Lasik procedure render the surgery fairly painless and results are typically achieved within a day. Neither stitches nor bandages are required after undergoing Lasik surgery. Lasik is performed to reduce or eliminate the need for contact lenses or glasses with most of the patients younger than 40 not needing them at all.
Cataract surgery is performed when the cataract in the patient is causing visually significant impairment of vision, affecting patient’s daily routines. Although most cataracts, are contributed to a process of aging of the lens, some cataracts may develop at or before birth, or develop due to ocular trauma or genetic conditions. During Cataract surgery, the discolored lens is replaced with a clear and permanent artificial lens known as an intraocular lens or IOL. The IOL placed in the eye has an optical power as prescribed by the surgeon for restoration of normal vision. I most cases the surgery takes between 15 minutes to 45 minutes. If performed without general anesthesia, often numbing drops are used to reduce the pain during the procedure.
98% of patients undergoing cataract surgeries report success with no serious complications. Mild irritation, mild tearing and slight sensitivity to light are some of the temporary side effects which may be associated with uncomplicated cataract surgery. Pain medication such as ibuprofen or Advil® may be taken following the procedure for pain management. Cataracts are not to be removed from both eyes at the same time. If both eyes are to be done, they are scheduled a few weeks to a month apart.
Both surgeries treat different problems. It is thus possible to have a Cataract surgery if you develop cataracts sometime after having undergone Lasik surgery. However, if you have never had Lasik and develop a visually significant cataract affecting distance vision, you are often advised not to go through Lasik surgery. This is because Cataract surgery can improve your eyesight upon removal of the discolored lens.
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