LASIK vs Cataract Surgery – and can you have both?

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LASIK vs Cataract Surgery – and can you have both?


February 2024

Generally speaking, eye health and vision correction can be pretty confusing, especially with the sheer number of procedures, designed to improve vision. As a patient struggling with impaired vision who is researching different solutions, such as with LASIK vs. Cataract surgery, it can be easy to find yourself confused, as these both have a lot of overarching similarities with one another. Both of these treatments work to improve vision, however, they vastly differ in terms of their method and purpose. In order to help you on your way, we’ll be comparing the finer details of LASIK vs. Cataract surgery, what makes them so different from each other, and better yet, whether or not you’ll have to choose between them.

What LASIK vs. Cataract Surgery Have in Common and How They Differ

At a glance, it’s easy to see why these two treatments can look the same to some patients:

Laser Assisted.

Both cataract surgery vs. LASIK employ the use of highly accurate lasers to accomplish their vision correction objectives.

Full Awareness.

Neither procedure requires you to be asleep. A local anesthetic and oral sedation are more than enough to keep you comfortable and pain-free.

Overall Rapid Treatment.

Neither treatment takes much time, lasting no more than an hour from when you step through the door, to when you leave. Recovery time is also short, with most patients noticing results within 24-72 hours. You can expect vision stabilization within 2-3 months for cataracts and optimal clarity by 6 months with LASIK.

Highly Positive Results.

LASIK boasts an impressive 98% (see below for reference) success rate for achieving 20/20 vision, while cataract surgery sits at around 95%, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH).

Upon closer examination, we start to see what really sets these two procedures apart:

Procedure Purpose.

While both surgeries do improve vision, cataract surgery, and LASIK are used to treat different eye conditions. The purpose of cataract surgery is to remove and replace a patient’s natural lens that has become clouded from the growth of a cataract. The purpose of LASIK is to reshape a patient’s cornea and in doing so fixing refractive errors that prevent light from reaching the retina in focus. This improves vision for those with nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

Treatment Approach.

LASIK and cataract surgery take on different treatment approaches in that one looks to reshape the cornea, while the other replaces the natural lens entirely. With LASIK, the outer layers of the cornea are exposed with a femtosecond laser-created flap, then a computer-guided excimer laser reshapes the exposed cornea tissue before the flap is set back in place to heal.

In cataract surgery, the clouded lens is broken apart with a computer-guided laser. This laser also painlessly creates tiny incisions in the cornea. An instrument using ultrasonic energy is used to liquify and remove the cloudy cataract lens fragments. An artificial lens, tailored specifically to the patient’s vision needs, is then inserted into the eye. There are several IOL options, that improve near or far distance, and trifocal lenses that improve near, intermediate and far distance vision.

Number of Eyes Treated.

Generally, patients with refractive errors have them in both eyes so LASIK is usually performed on each eye simultaneously. Cataract surgery is done one eye at a time to allow proper healing and vision adjustment before moving on to the next eye.

Can Both LASIK vs. Cataract Surgery Be Applied to One Patient?

Many patients have LASIK when they are younger. It is important to remember that LASIK is performed on the cornea, it does not affect the lens of the eye. Almost everyone will eventually get cataracts later in life as they age. Those patients who had LASIK in their youth can still have cataract surgery. Your surgeon will determine how your previous LASIK may impact your best IOL choices.

In rare cases, it’s possible to require both cataract surgery and LASIK. The replacement lens for cataract surgery, in addition to eliminating the original, clouded lens, can help mitigate nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. However, if the refractive error is too large for the lens alone to fix, then LASIK can usually be performed later to correct the remaining refractive error.


Ultimately, the comparison of LASIK vs Cataract surgery is that they are different procedures, built to address separate conditions. It’s important to discuss your unique vision needs with one of our specialists to determine which choice is best for you. Here at OVO LASIK + LENS, our world-class surgeons and state-of-the-art facility is here to make your vision our focus, so contact us at 877 686 3937, email us at or use the contact form on our website:

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