• Aris Konstantopoulos

Find out if Laser Eye Surgery or Cataract Surgery is the best option!

Updated: Jan 28

It is common for patients in my clinic to ask ‘do I need cataract surgery or laser eye surgery?’. In this post I will explain each procedure, their differences, and which may be better for you.

Both cataract surgery and laser eye surgery are great options for improving your eyesight. They are extremely safe and hundreds of thousands are performed each year in the UK. However, the reasons or indications for having one or the other are different.

How does laser eye surgery compare to cataract or lens surgery?

Both procedures take around 15 minutes per eye and are performed under local anaesthetic. The recovery time is similar; with laser surgery you can return to work within a few days, for lens surgery I would recommend a week. Both procedures are very safe, but overall laser eye surgery is the preferable option as it is an external eye procedure; laser surgery is performed on the surface of the eye, whereas lens surgery within the eye.

Generally, laser eye surgery is recommended when the quality of the optics of the eye is normal. When the quality of the lens of your eye is affected, such as with the presence of cataract, laser eye surgery is not the best option; cataract or lens surgery would then provide a greater improvement in the quality of your vision.

Laser eye surgery can help you if:

  • you are fed up with the inconvenience of glasses or contact lenses

  • your eyes are becoming uncomfortable with contact lenses

  • you are developing contact lens intolerance or infections

  • you keep swapping between distance and reading glasses

  • you keep losing your reading glasses

Cataract or lens surgery may help you if:

  • you have cloudy or blurred vision despite wearing glasses

  • you are struggling to see detail for distance and/or near

  • you have noticed a gradual fading of colours

  • are finding night driving increasingly difficult or are experiencing glare 

  • you are repeatedly needing new spectacles to see clearly

Laser eye surgery

LASIK and ReLEx SMILE are the most common laser vision correction procedures. They can improve your vision so that you do not need to wear distance glasses, reading glasses or contact lenses. Laser eye surgery is performed on the cornea, reshaping its surface to allow light rays to bend and come into focus on the retina. It can correct near-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hyperopia), astigmatism (shape of the cornea not being regular) and the need for reading glasses (presbyopia).

In LASIK, a femtosecond laser is used to create a thin layer on the corneal surface, called the flap, which is lifted by the surgeon. An excimer laser is then used to sculpt the cornea, correcting the underlying refractive error. SMILE is a keyhole laser vision correction procedure that does not involve the creation of a flap. The laser is used to create a disc of tissue within the cornea, called the lenticule, that is then removed by the surgeon.

PRESBYOND laser blended vision is a variant of LASIK that treats the age-related need for reading glasses, known as presbyopia. It focuses your dominant eye for distance and the other eye for near, with a unique blend zone that provides good intermediate vision. It allows you to enjoy an active lifestyle without the inconvenience of reading glasses.

Cataract surgery

As we get older our natural lens not only loses its elasticity and ability to focus, but also loses its natural transparency and refractive qualities. When your lens has developed these changes, laser eye surgery may not be the preferred option and instead refractive lens exchange or cataract surgery may be the better treatment for improving your eyesight.

Cataract surgery or refractive lens exchange (lens replacement) improves the quality of your vision by replacing your dysfunctional natural lens with a clear artificial lens, called an intraocular lens. It also provides a great opportunity to address any refractive errors of your eye, whether you are short-sighted, long-sighted, have astigmatism or need reading glasses.

Depending on how you would like to improve your vision and on your individual eyes, a monofocal, extended depth of focus or trifocal lens can be used during surgery; all intraocular lenses can be combined with a toric correction if you have astigmatism. With the appropriate expertise, cataract or refractive lens surgery can improve your vision and also reduce or eliminate your need for distance and near spectacles, allowing you to enjoy life with the freedom of not needing glasses.

Which procedure is best for me?

This will largely depend on the overall health of your eyes and how you would like to improve your eyesight. Each procedure is tailored to your individual eyes and needs.

If you would like to find out more or book a clinic consultation, call 02381 812281 or leave a message through my contact page at

All the best

Aris Konstantopoulos

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Clinic Locations

Nuffield Health Wessex Hospital 

Nuffield Health Guildford Hospital

Southampton Spire Hospital

University Hospital Southampton NHS

Book an appointment or a free screening review for Laser Vision Correction.


Call 02381 812281

Leave a message

Aris Konstantopoulos MB ChB, MSc, FRCOphth, PhD

Consultant Eye Surgeon

Cataract, cornea and refractive surgery

Consultation clinics:

  • Nuffield Health Wessex Hospital, Eastleigh, SO53 2DW

  • Nuffield Health Guildford Hospital, Guildford, GU2 7RF

  • Southampton Spire Hospital, Southampton, SO16 6UY

  • University Hospital Southampton NHS FT, SO16 6YD


Mr Aris Konstantopoulos

Aris Vision Correction

Southampton Spire Hospital

Southampton, SO16 6UY

T: 02381 812281

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