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LASIK TUNE UP

LASIK Tune Up After Cataract Surgery

Cataracts affect roughly 20.5 million Americans aged forty and over. That number is expected to skyrocket to 50 million by 2050. Every year in the United States, more than 3 million people undergo surgery to remove cataracts. In fact, cataract surgery is the most frequently performed surgery in the country.

But even though the vast majority of cataract surgeries performed provide excellent results, occasionally patients will require a LASIK, PRK enhancement or ‘tune up’ sometime after undergoing the procedure.

So why would you need a LASIK laser ‘tune up’ after you’ve had cataract surgery? And just what does that process involve?

What is a Cataract?

A cataract is the slow development of the clouding of the eye’s natural lens. Normally, cataracts display a gradual progression with age and mainly affect individuals over the age of 50. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, about half of all Americans age 75 and older suffer a significant decrease in vision due to cataracts.

Cataracts alter the light rays passing through the lens of the eye, generating blurry or steamy vision. They can cause problems with reading, driving or distinguishing the facial expressions of others.  

A cataract usually starts out quite small and goes mostly unnoticed. However, it slowly evolves over time, growing larger and cloudier. If it gets to the point where the cataract is impeding your ability to read, to drive safely or to perform routine tasks, then it might be time to consult your eye doctor.

Why Would I Need a Tune Up?

Cataract surgery involves replacing the cloudy lens of the eye with an intraocular lens implant (IOL). Even with new technological advances and high success rates in cataract surgery, sometimes a residual refractive error will occur, called a ‘refractive surprise’, resulting in an unsatisfactory visual outcome, and a burdensome dependence on glasses just to see adequately.  

In the best case scenario, the patient’s prescription is embedded into the implant so that after surgery, they will be able to see correctly without the use of reading glasses or contact lenses.

However, in as many as one out of ten cases, perfect alignment between the implant and the patient’s prescription is unattainable, due to the high complexity of estimating and calculating the strength of the implanted lens. Other complexities may arise with patients who have previously undergone LASIK, photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) or radial keratotomy (RK) surgeries, or patients with other corneal surface irregularities.

The solution to these challenges frequently lies with LASIK laser eye surgery. In most of these cases, LASIK is the most efficient way to fine-tune and correct a patient’s refractive errors after cataract surgery.

How is a LASIK Tune Up Performed?

A LASIK tune up can be performed in as little as several weeks after cataract surgery. In LASIK surgery, a fine, round flap is created in the cornea using an advanced surgical tool called a femtosecond laser. The flap is then folded back by the surgeon to access the middle layers of the cornea.

Another specially designed laser - an excimer laser - beams ultraviolet light to reshape the cornea, enabling it to focus visible light more effectively onto the retina and thus enhancing eyesight.

After reshaping the cornea, the flap is set back into place, allowing the eye to heal naturally. LASIK surgery is performed painlessly under topical anesthetic drops, and no bandages or stitches are needed.

What are the Results of a LASIK Tune Up?

Restoration of vision happens relatively fast after LASIK surgery and little to no discomfort is felt during the recovery process. LASIK is probably the safest of all refractive surgical techniques as it doesn’t physically enter the eye. Working on the surface of the cornea gives LASIK a high security profile.

LASIK has been shown to be a beneficial, noninvasive and accurate procedure to correct refractive errors after cataract surgery. Recent studies have shown that using LASIK for the correction of residual errors provided exceptional results to almost 93% of patients.

If you’ve already had cataract surgery and aren’t completely satisfied with the results, contact our board certified eyecare specialists for a complete consultation.


To learn more about eye care or to schedule your appointment, call 352.622.5183 or