Are You a Candidate?
Are You a Good Candidate for LASIK?
Even a decade ago, the field for good candidates for laser eye surgery was fairly narrow. Your corneas couldn't be too thin or too thick. There had to be no injuries within the preceding year and no major illness or pregnancies (hormones released during pregnancy can change the shape of the expectant mother's eyes).
However even with the advances made in LASIK, there are still a few things you should know before you undergo the procedure that will determine if you're a good candidate for laser eye surgery.
- Make sure that LASIK isn't prohibited by your employer. Certain professional will not allow this vision enhancement surgery.
- You need to be a risk taker. As with any surgical procedure, even one with a safety record as high as LASIK, there are risks.
- Make sure you get a quote from your LASIK surgeon in writing and find out how much, if any your insurance company will cover.
- Tell your doctor if you've required a change in your glasses or contact lens prescription in the past 12 months. Your doctor may wish to postpone your LASIK surgery until your vision stabilizes.
- Many doctors will not perform the procedure on individuals under the age of 20 as the eye generally have not stopped growing until that age. No lasik procedure is currently legal for any individual under the age of 18, even with parental consent.
- Individuals with Type I or Type II diabetes are often not good candidates for the LASIK procedure as their fluctuating hormones cause frequent changes in their vision quality.
- Women that are pregnant or breastfeeding are normally told to wait until after their baby is born and the baby is weaned before undergoing the LASIK procedure.
- During your consultation, your doctor will ask if you're taking any medications, be absolutely thorough and name all medications you're taking as certain medications can cause refractive instability and additional risks for LASIK may be involved.
- If you have a chronic medical condition, be sure to cover it with your doctor during your initial consultation. While a good number of medical conditions won't disqualify you from getting the LASIK procedure, certain health conditions can make the benefits of LASIK difficult to realize due to refractive instability (as with diabetes for example).
- You actively participate in contact sports. If you regularly participate in boxing, wrestling, martial arts or other activities in which blows to the face and eyes are a normal occurrence, you may not be a good candidate for LASIK.
Additional Points to Ponder Regarding LASIK
The safety and effectiveness of refractive procedures has not been determined in patients with certain health issues. Discuss with your doctor if you have a history of any of the following medical conditions as you may not be a candidate for LASIK:
- Herpes simplex or Herpes zoster (shingles) involving area around the eyes or the eyes themselves.
- Glaucoma, glaucoma suspect, or ocular hypertension. If glaucoma runs in your family, you should be screened prior to having the LASIK procedure performed.
- Eye diseases, such as uveitis/iritis (inflammations of the eye) and blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids with crusting of the eyelashes).
- Eye injuries or previous surgery to your eyes, especially within the past year.
- Keratoconus is another condition that can make your LASIK procedure risky.
Four Points To Cover With Your Doctor
Your doctor should screen you for the following conditions or indicators of risk:
- Large pupils. If you have large pupils you may be prone to after-LASIK complications such as halos, glare, starbursts and ghosts (double vision). Your evaluation should be done in a darkened room.
- Thin Corneas. The cornea is the thin membrane that covers that eye and is over the iris. Corneas that are too thin can cause vision complications when traditional laser surgery is performed. However there are other laser procedures that are sometimes available to individuals with thin corneas.
- Previous refractive surgery (e.g., RK, PRK, LASIK). If you have suffered a complication after previous refractive surgery, you may not be a candidate for additional surgery. This should be looked at in depth with your doctor.
- Dry Eyes. If you already suffer from dryness of the eyes, LASIK surgery may aggravate this condition.