Cataract Surgery After LASIK
By Jeffrey Martin, MD
Published on March 31, 2010
Laser vision correction has been a popular outpatient eye surgery over the past ten years. Many patients have enjoyed the benefit of life without glasses and contact lenses and the results have never been better. With current technology, we are able to perform bladeless custom LASIK or iLASIK, which Dr. Jeffrey Martin feels is the very best way to have LASIK laser eye surgery. With Intralase, a blade free laser, we make the most precise and safest flap possible in the superficial layers of the cornea. We then use the CustomVue LASIK system to make the refractive correction. With CustomVue, we get a Waveprint or Wavemap of your individual eye, which is like a fingerprint of your vision. This custom correction is then placed on the cornea using iris registration for exact centering as well as automatic tracking during the LASIK laser vision correction. This has been an amazing advancement in ophthalmology and eye surgery.
As our LASIK patients become older, the natural lens of the eye will begin to be cloudy like all other people. This natural clouding of the lens of the eye is called a cataract. Cataract is the aging of the lens and when the cataract or defective lens is significant enough to impair vision to a level that affects quality of life, cataract surgeons will suggest cataract surgery. Cataract surgery is also an ultra-modern procedure and most cases do not require use of needles around the eyes, stitches, or even an eye patch. The cataract surgery takes a few minutes and is completed through a small incision using gentle computer controlled ultrasound called phacoemulsification. After the defective lens is removed, we place an intraocular lens or IOL of predetermined power into the eye where the original lens was in the lens capsule. The measurements to determine lens power are very sophisticated and are quite accurate. However, after LASIK, the corneal measurements that are used in all of the lens implant formulas have been altered due to reshaping of the cornea and this now needs to be taken into account.
With practice and attention to detail, cataract surgeons are able to estimate the changes caused by LASIK quite accurately using the historical information. There are also several formulas that are designed for the post- LASIK eye. It is important that every patient that has had laser vision correction lets the cataract surgeon know that they have had laser eye surgery. Dr. Jeffrey Martin feels that using the historical method has been successful in his practice having used it in hundreds of cataract cases.
If the implant measurements are not perfect, it may be necessary to perform a laser vision correction enhancement to achieve the final refractive result. In some practices, about 10 percent of patients that have had previous LASIK will need a laser vision correction touch-up following cataract surgery for the best visual result.