If you are considering LASIK eye surgery, you may be wondering if you are a good candidate for the procedure. LASIK is an excellent option for many people who are looking to improve their vision, but some criteria must be met to qualify for treatment. In this article, we will outline what eye conditions LASIK eye surgery can treat, what criteria makes for a good candidate, and we will list some reasons that someone may be disqualified as well.
What Eye Conditions Can LASIK Eye Surgery Treat?
LASIK eye surgery is a treatment option for those who suffer from nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism (blurriness on far or near objects). LASIK works by reshaping the cornea of your eye to better focus light onto the retina. So, in individuals with nearsightedness, they can see distant objects more clearly, and in those with farsightedness, they can see up-close objects better. In individuals with astigmatism, the cornea is adjusted so that it is evenly shaped, correcting the vision distortion.
What Criteria Makes for a Good Candidate?
To be a good LASIK candidate, you must meet the following criteria:
- You are at least 21 years old. LASIK is not recommended for people under the age of 21 because your vision is still changing up until this age. This means that if you have LASIK eye surgery done before the age of 21, it may need to be repeated in the future.
- You are in good overall health. Because LASIK eye surgery is still a surgical procedure, you are required to be in good general health. This means that you cannot have certain health problems, like diabetes or autoimmune diseases. If you are taking any medications that can impact the immune system, this may disqualify you.
- You must have healthy, thick corneas. LASIK eye surgery involves creating a flap in the cornea, and as such, your corneas need to be thick enough to withstand the incision. LASIK eye surgeons will perform tests on your eyes, such as the slit lamp examination, to determine cornea thickness and the general health of the cornea. LASIK surgery is not recommended for those who have thin corneas, have eye conditions like dry eye or glaucoma, or have a history of LASIK-related complications such as flap tears or issues with healing.
- Your prescription must be within certain limits. LASIK eye surgery can only treat prescriptions that fall within a certain range. Generally speaking, the range is -11 diopters for nearsightedness, +5 diopters for farsightedness, and 5 diopters for those with astigmatism. If your prescription is too high or too low, LASIK eye surgery may not be the best option for you, and you may get better results with an alternative treatment.
What Could Disqualify You From Getting LASIK
Some circumstances can disqualify you from LASIK surgery. Some of these include the following:
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding. When pregnant or breastfeeding, the influx of hormones during this time can affect your vision, causing certain eye conditions like dry eyes or worsened eyesight. In addition to this, medications like antibiotics or topical anesthetics may put the baby at risk. LASIK eye surgery also introduces the risk of infection, so pregnant women are not eligible for surgery.
- If you have certain pre-existing health conditions. There are certain conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and diabetes that may disqualify you from being able to get LASIK eye surgery. This is determined on a case-by-case basis, so you will need to speak with the LASIK eye surgeon.
- If you are in poor general health or have poor eye health. Certain eye conditions like severe dry eye syndrome, conjunctivitis, and severe eye infections will prevent you from getting LASIK eye surgery. In addition to this, if your body has trouble with healing, or you’re taking certain medications, you will also be disqualified.
A Note For Long-Term Contact Lens Wearers
If you are a long-term contact lens wearer and are considering having LASIK eye surgery done, then you need to discontinue the use of contact lenses for a period before surgery to allow your corneas to regain their original shape. If this isn’t done, then an inaccurate measurement of your cornea shape will be taken during the visual scan of your eyes. If you are a long-term contact lens wearer, it is critical to let your LASIK eye surgeon know, so that they can get an accurate measurement of the thinness of your cornea, and its regular shape.
If you meet the criteria listed above, LASIK eye surgery may be a good option for you. LASIK is an effective way to improve your vision and has been performed safely on millions of people worldwide. If you have any questions about whether LASIK is right for you, please consult with your eye doctor.