Is it true that the LASIK procedure causes cataracts?
Laser In-Situ Keratomileusis or commonly known as LASIK, is a type of eye surgery that is often used to correct eye disorders such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia. The purpose of LASIK is usually to reduce your dependence on visual aids such as glasses or contact lenses . This operation, which aims to improve visual function, works by reshaping the cornea, the part that is in front of the eye and looks clear, so that light passing through the cornea can focus on the retina located at the back of the eye.
Although relatively safe and the chances of success are very large, any type of operation including LASIK has its own risks. Some complications that may occur in LASIK surgery are:
- Technically, LASIK is actually a complex act. Problems can occur during corneal reconstruction, so it is highly recommended that you find a specialist doctor who is used to undergo LASIK.
- LASIK can cause you to lose your best vision. What is meant by the best vision here is your maximum vision when using glasses or contact lenses.
- A condition called post LASIK ectasia is one of the complications that can occur after LASIK surgery. Inside the eye, there is a pressure called intraocular pressure or IOP. In a normal cornea, this pressure will not affect the shape of the cornea. But in those who undergo LASIK, the cornea becomes thinner and weaker so that it cannot withstand the pressure. Over time the cornea will change shape, usually can be seen protrusions on the front of the eye. This change in the shape of the korna is associated with an increased possibility of suffering from nearsightedness and astigmatism.
What is a cataract?
Unlike the decline in visual function that can be cured with LASIK, cataract is an eye disorder that usually appears with age. Cataract is a condition where the lens of the eye is covered by a cloudy colored layer that can cause impaired visual function. Cataracts can appear in one eye or both eyes.
Unlike LASIK which is associated with the cornea, cataracts are related to the lens. The lens is part of the eye that functions to focus light or images on the retina. In normal eyes, light passes through a transparent lens and is received by the retina. The light that reaches the retina is then converted into a signal to be sent to the brain. For light to reach the retina, the lens must be transparent. This explains why people with cataracts experience vision problems.
There are several types of cataracts, namely:
- Secondary cataracts: cataracts that occur after surgery due to other eye health problems, such as glaucoma . Diseases such as diabetes are also usually associated with cataracts. Steroid use can also cause cataracts later in life.
- Congenital cataracts: some babies are born with cataracts or experience cataracts during childhood. This type of cataract usually occurs in both eyes, is so small that it does not interfere with vision.
Does LASIK cause cataracts?
Several studies have revealed that those who undergo LASIK have a risk of developing cataracts at a younger age. A study examined the history of LASIK in those who underwent cataract surgery in 18 countries in Australia and Europe. The study found that the average age of patients who had undergone LASIK and then underwent cataract surgery was 62.9 years. While the average age of patients undergoing cataract surgery without ever receiving a LASIK procedure is 74 years. The ability to see before cataract surgery on all subjects of this study was more or less the same.
The development of cataracts in those who have had LASIK is faster when compared to the development of cataracts caused by age. There is no precise explanation why cataracts develop faster in those who have received LASIK procedures.
How to avoid complications due to LASIK?
Complications caused by LASIK procedures can actually be avoided. Ensuring that you are fit to undergo LASIK is one of them. Make sure the doctor who will carry out the LASIK procedure knows very well the condition of your eyes. The doctor will check the thickness of the cornea, pupil size, and what type of medication you normally use. Some conditions that determine whether you can undergo LASIK or not are:
- The state and thickness of the cornea.
- Pupils that are too big.
- Unstable vision.
- Eyes too dry or dry eye syndrome .
- Diseases suffered, for example whether there are degenerative diseases or autoimmune diseases.