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Can I have laser treatment if I have cataracts?

Published on 16th November 2017

The simple answer is no. The eye is rather like a camera and like a camera there is a lens inside the eye.

This lens sits just behind the pupil and should be transparent. If for any reason the lens of the eye becomes cloudy or hazy the patient is then said to have a cataract. A better and patient orientated definition of cataract is therefore: "a clouding of the lens within the eye that is reducing vision."

There are different types of cataract and various reasons why cataracts develop. In young children the lens of the eye is crystal clear. As we age the lens gradually becomes less clear and yellowed. In the elderly the lens of the eye has a brown hue.

Mr Manoj Mathai, Consultant Ophtalmologist explains that ''If you have had a cataract confirmed by your optician then unfortunately you will not be a suitable candidate for laser vision correction. Cataract is an opacity in the clear crystalline lens of the eye which interferes with vision. It is most commonly seen as a wear-and-tear change in the aging eye. Treatment is to replace the opaque lens with a clear artificial 'intraocular implant.''

As laser eye corrections works by adjusting the focus of the eye by removing tissue from the cornea (the clear window at the front of the eye), this will not stop the changes that are happening inside the eye. It is considered unethical to perform laser eye correction on someone who has been diagnosed with a cataract.

A cataract can of course be removed by the NHS, however, if a patient would like to have their cataract removed privately, here at Visualase we work with an experienced consultant ophthalmologist who can arrange this, contact us today.


All eye surgical procedures carry a level of risk including not obtaining the desired outcome, through to varying levels of visual loss. Your eye surgeon will discuss the risks and benefits, including ones specific to your circumstances, at the time of your pre-operative consultation.