Who is a Good Candidate for Laser Eye Surgery?

laser eye surgery

Laser eye surgery has revolutionized the world of vision correction, offering a safe and effective solution for those looking to say goodbye to glasses or contact lenses. But who exactly is a candidate for this life-changing procedure? In this article, we will decode the criteria for laser eye surgery eligibility and explore the various factors that determine whether you are a suitable candidate. 

Basic Requirements for Laser Eye Surgery

Before delving into the specific criteria, let’s first understand the basic requirements for laser eye surgery. One of the most common questions regarding laser eye surgery is, “How old do you have to be to get LASIK?” Generally, you must be at least 18 years old to undergo the procedure. This ensures that your eyes have fully matured and stabilized and minimizes the risk of complications. While  there is no upper age limit for LASIK, age related changes in the eye such as presbyopia and cataract may mean that other lens based vision correction procedures such as refractive lens exchange (RLE) or cataract surgery may be the optimal procedure for you . However, as long as your eyes are healthy and you meet the other criteria, you can undergo LASIK at any age. 

Additionally, you should have a stable prescription for at least one year prior to the surgery. This stability indicates that your vision has reached a plateau, and any further changes are unlikely. It’s also crucial to have healthy eyes free from any underlying conditions or diseases. A comprehensive eye examination by an experienced refractive ophthalmologist will determine the overall health of your eyes and identify any potential issues that may affect your eligibility for laser eye surgery. Factors such as corneal thickness, corneal shape, your glasses prescription, and the overall eye health will be assessed to ensure the best possible outcome.

LASIK Qualification FAQs

Can You Get LASIK with Astigmatism?

If you have astigmatism, you may be wondering if you can still get LASIK. The answer is yes! LASIK can effectively correct regular astigmatism, providing clearer vision and reducing your dependence on corrective lenses. In fact, LASIK has been a game-changer for many individuals with astigmatism, allowing them to enjoy improved visual acuity without the need for glasses or contacts. It is critical to have an evaluation of your astigmatism by a LASIK expert to ensure that your astigmatism is regular before proceeding with LASIK. In cases of irregular astigmatism, such as keratoconus, LASIK is contraindicated, but other procedures such as CTAK or topography guided PRK may be an option to correct your vision.

During the LASIK procedure, the laser reshapes the cornea to correct the oval curvature that causes astigmatism. This precise reshaping helps to create a more symmetrical corneal shape, resulting in sharper and more focused vision. So, if you have astigmatism and meet the other criteria for LASIK, there’s a good chance that you can benefit from this remarkable procedure. Feel free to request a complimentary consultation with a CLEI surgeon to see if your astigmatism is correctable with LASIK.

Can You Get LASIK While Pregnant or Breastfeeding?

Pregnancy is a beautiful and transformative journey, but it can also bring about changes in your body, including fluctuations in vision. If you’re considering LASIK and you’re currently pregnant or planning to become pregnant, it’s important to understand how pregnancy can impact your eligibility for the procedure.

During pregnancy, hormonal changes can cause changes in the shape and thickness of the cornea, leading to fluctuations in vision. Although these changes are usually temporary, some of these changes may be permanent.  As a result, it is generally recommended to postpone LASIK until after pregnancy and breastfeeding. This allows your eyes to stabilize and ensures a more accurate assessment of your candidacy for LASIK.

While LASIK is not recommended during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, you should still consult with an experienced eye surgeon who can provide personalized advice based on your specific situation. They will guide you through the process and help you make an informed decision about the best timing for your LASIK journey.

What if You Have Dry Eyes or Another Eye Condition?

Individuals with dry eyes or other pre-existing eye conditions may still be eligible for LASIK, depending on the severity and type of condition. Dry eyes can be a temporary or chronic condition and should be properly managed before undergoing LASIK. Our CLE surgeons do a thorough preoperative dry eye workup tol evaluate the health of your tear film and provide appropriate treatment options to ensure the best outcome.

In some cases, LASIK may not be the most suitable option for individuals with certain eye conditions. However, there are alternative vision correction procedures available that can address specific concerns. For example, PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) is a surface-based laser procedure or the EVO ICL, a lens based procedure, may be  better choices for individuals with certain glasses prescriptions, thin corneas, or corneal irregularities.

It’s important to have a thorough discussion with your eye surgeon, disclosing any pre-existing eye conditions or concerns. They will assess your individual situation and recommend the most appropriate vision correction procedure for you.

What if You’ve Been Told You’re Ineligible for LASIK?

If you’ve previously been told that you’re ineligible for LASIK or have certain conditions that may disqualify you, don’t lose hope. Advancements in technology and alternative procedures have expanded the options for vision correction. Consult with an experienced CLEI eye surgeon who specializes in refractive surgery to explore alternative treatments that may be suitable for your specific situation.

For example, implantable collamer lenses (EVO ICLs) or refractive lens exchange (RLE) may be viable alternatives for individuals who are not eligible for LASIK. These procedures involve the implantation of an artificial lens inside the eye to correct vision. Your surgeon will assess your individual circumstances and recommend the most appropriate solution to help you achieve your desired visual outcome.

Remember, each person’s eyes are unique, and what may not be suitable for one individual may be a great option for another. Trust in the expertise of your eye surgeon and explore the alternatives available to you.

Assessing Your Eligibility for LASIK

Now that you have a better understanding of the basic requirements and considerations for LASIK, let’s delve into assessing your eligibility for the procedure. The first step is to schedule a consultation with a qualified refractive eye surgeon. During this consultation, your surgeon will conduct a comprehensive eye examination to evaluate your ocular health and determine if LASIK is a suitable option for you.

The examination will include tests to measure your visual acuity, assess your prescription, evaluate the thickness and shape of your cornea, and check for any underlying eye conditions. Your surgeon will also discuss your medical history, lifestyle, and expectations to ensure that LASIK aligns with your goals and needs.

Based on the results of the examination and the discussion, your surgeon will provide a personalized recommendation regarding your eligibility for LASIK. They may also discuss alternative vision correction procedures if LASIK is not the ideal choice for you. Remember, the goal is to achieve the best possible outcome and ensure your long-term eye health and satisfaction.

Preparing for LASIK: What to expect

If you’ve determined that you are a suitable candidate for LASIK and have made the decision to proceed, it’s important to prepare yourself for the procedure. Your surgeon will provide detailed instructions to ensure a smooth and successful LASIK experience.

Before the surgery, you may be required to discontinue the use of contact lenses for a certain period of time to allow your corneas to return to their natural shape. This is important as contact lenses can alter the curvature of the cornea, affecting the accuracy of the surgical correction.

On the day of the procedure, you will be given numbing eye drops to ensure your comfort. At the Cornea and Laser Eye Institute, your surgeon will create a thin flap on the cornea using the low energy Ziemer Z8 femtosecond laser. The flap is then lifted, and the underlying corneal tissue is reshaped using the Wavelight EX500 excimer laser (Alcon, USA). This reshaping process corrects your specific refractive error, whether it’s nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. The flap is then repositioned, and the healing process begins.

Following the surgery, you will be given specific instructions for post-operative care, including the use of eye drops, avoiding strenuous activities, and attending follow-up appointments. It’s important to adhere to these instructions to ensure proper healing and optimal results.

Conclusion: Making the decision to get LASIK

Deciding to undergo LASIK is a personal and life-changing choice. Understanding the criteria for eligibility and the various factors involved can help you make an informed decision. Remember to consult with a board certified refractive surgeon who specializes to assess your candidacy and explore the best options for your unique situation.If you’re still unsure whether you qualify for LASIK, don’t hesitate to fill out our “Am I a Candidate?” form. Our team of experts will review your information and provide personalized guidance based on your specific circumstances. What are you waiting for? Take the first step towards clearer vision and a brighter future!

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