Can LASIK remove cataracts? It is a common question that Ophthalmologists and LASIK surgeons get from patients. Can it? Here we answer that question by explaining exactly what cataracts are and what the LASIK procedure really does.
Our eyes function like a camera. When we look at something, light rays travel into our eye through the pupil and are focused through the lens onto the retina, a layer of light-sensitive cells at the back of the eye. The lens must be clear in order to focus light properly onto the retina. If the lens has become cloudy, this is called a cataract.
Cataracts occur when there is a buildup of protein in the lens that makes it cloudy. This prevents light from passing clearly through the lens, causing some loss of vision. Since new lens cells form on the outside of the lens, all the older cells are compacted into the center of the lens resulting in the cataract.
Below are the types of cataracts known today:
- Age-related cataracts which are a natural result of the aging process.
- Congenital cataracts which infants acquire before being born as a result of an infection, injury, or poor development.
- Secondary cataracts which develop as a result of other medical conditions, like diabetes.
- Traumatic cataracts which occur after injury to the eye.
If your vision has become blurry, cloudy or dim, or things are not as bright or colorful as they used to be, a cataract may have developed in one or both of your eyes. Many people say that their vision with cataracts is similar to looking through a dirty car windshield.
So can LASIK remove cataracts? The answer, unfortunately, is no. The LASIK procedure only reshapes the cornea, and not the lens, to enable light entering the eye to be properly focused onto the retina for clearer vision.