If you’re tired of wearing glasses and contacts every day, LASIK might seem like a tempting option. Though it is not without some risks, LASIK is a fast, painless procedure that can correct both nearsightedness and farsightedness. However, you have probably heard that LASIK is not for everyone. Here are some criteria your optometrist will investigate to determine if LASIK is an option for you.
While the goal of LASIK surgery is to reduce dependency on glasses or contact lenses, having LASIK cannot guarantee 20/20 vision. Fortunately, most cases are successful in improving visual acuity (or sharpness).
LASIK candidates much be in good general health, and should not have any diseases that compromise the immune system’s response, like uncontrolled diabetes or collagen vascular disease. Certain medications that inhibit the immune system might also prevent you from being a good candidate for LASIK.
Patients who have keratoconus, glaucoma, cataracts, corneal disease, optic herpes simplex, chronic dry eye, or certain other retinal and optic nerve diseases are usually not candidates for LASIK. Patients also cannot have any temporary eye issues at the time of surgery, like eye infections or injury. Finally, LASIK patients should make their eye doctor aware of any other issues or conditions that may influence healing, like amblyopia (“lazy eye”), strabismus (muscle imbalance). Candidates’ vision must be stable for at least one year prior to the procedure date.
If you have had problems recovering from other surgeries, like keloid scarring, your optometrist might determine that LASIK is too high-risk for you. The same goes for patients with emotional disorders, such as generalized anxiety, claustrophobia, panic disorder, or post-operative depression. While these conditions do not necessarily bar you from having LASIK, they are issues that should be discussed with your eye doctor. Most optometry clinics have sedation options such as Valium that can help you stay still and calm during the procedure.
Candidates should not be nursing or pregnant when undergoing the LASIK procedure. Since hormones may affect the stability of your prescription, pregnant or nursing women are not eligible to pursue LASIK surgery until three menstrual cycles after nursing has been discontinued.
Corneal thickness plays an important role in determining proper candidacy for LASIK. Due to the nature of the procedure, candidates must have a minimum corneal thickness of approximately 0.5 mm. Only your optometrist is able to determine this, so be sure to stop by for an eye appointment if you are considering LASIK.
Determining whether a patient is a good candidate for LASIK is a highly individualized process, which takes into consideration your medical history, current prescriptions, and other health factors. If you live in the Raleigh NC area and are considering laser eye surgery, we highly recommend scheduling a LASIK consultation appointment with our experienced optometrists.
Note, too, that if an eye doctor determines you are not a good LASIK candidate today, you may still be a good candidate in the future. The technology for laser eye surgery is constantly being enhanced, enabling people with higher and more difficult prescriptions to gain clearer vision.