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LASIK Surgery VS Cataract Surgery: What’s the Difference?

LASIK Surgery VS Cataract Surgery: What’s the Difference?

Today, LASIK surgery and cataract surgery are some of the more popular eye surgeries performed. LASIK surgery makes up 96% of refractive surgeries and an average of 25,000 cataract surgeries are performed annually in Singapore. In this article, we go in-depth to explore these two eye surgeries and how they differ, helping readers gain greater insight for more informed decision making.

Eye Conditions

Source: https://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/cataracts.htm

One of the differences between LASIK surgery and cataract surgery is the eye condition they are meant to correct. LASIK surgery in Singapore corrects near-sightedness, far-sightedness and astigmatism. They can be thought of as a replacement for prescribed glasses. 

On the other hand, cataract surgery in Singapore corrects a more serious eye condition known as cataracts. Cataracts, typically associated with ageing, areis the clouding of the lens that is behind the pupil. When this occurs, less light rays can pass through the lens and focus on the retina, which impedes vision. Those experiencing cataracts may experience symptoms including cloudy or blurry vision, glare or haloes around lights and poor night vision. 

While cataract surgery is a necessary measure for patients suffering from severe cataracts, LASIK surgery is an optional choice for those with refractive errors.      


Another main difference between LASIK surgery and cataract surgery is the way in which they are performed. LASIK surgery is a quick and easy procedure that can be completed in around 30 minutes. During the surgery, numbing drops are first placed in the eye before cutting into the corneal flap and folding it back. Once the corneal flap is folded back, the eye doctor can then reshape the cornea with a programmed laser. After which, the flap is laid back in place without any stitches required. 

Like LASIK surgery, cataract surgery is a fast procedure, lasting around 30 minutes. It also begins with numbing drops or local anaesthesia. During the surgery, the clouded lens is removed and a clear artificial lens may be implanted, depending on your condition. This can be performed in two ways. One involves breaking up the clouded lens into smaller pieces then removing them – phacoemulsification, and another involves removing the clouded lens in one piece – extracapsular cataract extraction.

In phacoemulsification, a needle-thin probe is inserted into an incision made in the cornea, where the cataract has formed. The probe uses ultrasound waves to separate the cataracts and suction the pieces. Stitches may be required to close the incision made. In extracapsular cataract extraction, a larger incision is made and surgical tools are used to remove the front capsule of the lens and the cloudy lens comprising the cataract. Stitches are required after due to the bigger incision size.

Recovery Process

When it comes to LASIK surgery, most patients will generally be able to see clearly within 24 hours after the surgery and go back to performing everyday activities. However, it is important to keep in mind that the recovery process heavily depends on the patient as well. In rarer cases, patients may take two to five days to recover and experience blurred vision from time to time for several weeks. Full vision stabilisation may take three to six months.   

Patients who have undergone cataract surgery may feel their eye returning back to normal within 24 hours of the procedure, just like LASIK surgery. Certain symptoms like light sensitivity, and after effects of the surgery including soreness or irritation of the eye may last a couple of days. Complete recovery may take four to six weeks. 

During the recovery process, it is important to heed the advice of your eye doctor and turn up for all follow-up appointments to ensure a smooth and seamless recovery, regardless of the procedure. 

While LASIK surgery and cataract surgery share overlapping benefits including improved vision, they are vastly different, possessing their own unique procedure and recovery process, as seen from the above. Ultimately, it is highly recommended to talk to an eye doctor in Singapore to help you better understand which procedure is most suited to you and your eye condition. 

At Nova Eye Centre, we offer a full suite of eye care solutions including both LASIK surgery and cataract surgery. Feel free to contact us today and our healthcare professionals will be more than happy to guide you through any queries.

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