Can I Have LASIK With Cataracts?

Elderly Man Thinking

If you are losing vision from cataracts, then LASIK can’t help you. LASIK corrects refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

Cataracts get worse as you age and vision loss from them will be significant. There is a very safe way to remove cataracts.

This surgery uses a technique called “refractive lens exchange”, or “RLE” for short. It is a tried and true method that can even correct refractive errors at the same time!

It does this by replacing your eyes natural lens with something called an “IOL”. Keep reading to learn more about RLE and cataract surgery!

Selecting an IOL

Intraocular lenses come in several different varieties. These varieties determine how dependent on glasses you will be. This is based on how they affect your vision.

Monofocal IOLs

Monofocal IOLs are the quintessential basic IOL. These lenses focus at a single distance (either near or far). This means that you will still need to rely on glasses after surgery.

You’ll need glasses to correct for the opposite distance. Despite not eliminating glasses dependence, monofocal IOLs are still a valid choice. Many people choose this IOL due to a lower price point and how easy it is to adapt to them.


If you want to have a glasses-free life using monofocal IOLs, you can use a technique called monovision. Each eye is corrected with a monofocal IOL at opposite distances.

With practice, you can switch between dominant eyes when viewing at different distances. Some people can’t adjust to monovision. Your doctor may recommend that you try it using contact lenses before surgery.

IOLs are easy to replace with a simple follow-up surgery if you are not happy with your results.

Multifocal IOLs

Multifocal IOLs can allow you to see at both near and far distances without glasses. While they cost more than monofocal IOLs, many patients agree that the added benefit is worth it.

Accommodating & Toric IOLs

Accommodating IOLs are like multifocal IOLs with an added benefit. They actually move inside of the eye like how your natural lens moves.

This makes switching between near distance vision and far distance vision much smoother.

Toric IOLs are the only IOL that’s designed to counter astigmatism. Normal IOLs can only affect nearsightedness or farsightedness.

Why You Can’t Remove Cataracts Without RLE

Cataracts do not form independently from the eye but on the natural lens of the eye. This means that it is impossible to remove the cataract by itself.

When you have a cataract, it’s made up of proteins in the lens. Before cataracts, the lens is transparent, allowing light through to help with vision.

As you age or due to factors like injury or other problems, these proteins can clump together. Over time, this can make the lens less transparent and more yellow.

This can cause light to refract incorrectly creating double vision and painful glare.

Think you may be developing cataracts? Schedule a cataract screening at Mid Ohio Eye in Columbus, OH today! Isn’t it time to get back to clear vision and seeing the world as it should be?