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Am I a Candidate for LASIK?

LASIK is a type of laser eye surgery that can replace the need to constantly wear glasses or contact lenses, however it is very important to find out if it’s the right option for you because not everyone is eligible for this procedure.

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A certain type of laser eye surgery, known as LASIK, could be a wonderful alternative for people who constantly need to wear glasses or contact lenses. That being said, not everyone is a suitable candidate for this procedure and therefore before going through with the surgery there are certain qualifications that must be checked. If you book an appointment to find out if LASIK surgery is for you, you will be asked for a very detailed medical history and you will receive a comprehensive eye exam which includes all sorts of measurements to make sure that you qualify. The surgeon and professional staff will discuss with you all of the factors, the risks of complications and will set the proper expectations with you. Together you can determine if LASIK is the right choice for you.

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LASIK Eligibility Criteria

To be a potential candidate for LASIK, there are basic prerequisites that you must meet:

Age: You need to be at least 18 years old, as your vision should have stopped changing and become stable. Changes in your prescription after LASIK could potentially affect the outcomes of the procedure.

Stable Vision Prescription: Your vision prescription needs to have been stable for at least a year. This is to ensure that your eyes are not changing rapidly which could affect the result of the surgery.

Good Overall Health: Your overall health should be in good condition. Certain systemic health conditions, particularly autoimmune diseases, can negatively affect the healing process post-LASIK and may therefore influence your suitability for the procedure.

Eye Health: Your eyes should be free of infections and injuries. Any current or chronic eye condition might affect your ability to undergo LASIK surgery. Conditions such as keratoconus, glaucoma, and cataracts could disqualify you from this surgery.

Corneal Thickness: The thickness of your cornea is crucial as LASIK surgery involves the reshaping of the cornea to correct vision. If your cornea is too thin, it may not withstand the procedure, putting your vision at risk.

Signs of LASIK Candidacy

If you meet the above criteria, you might be a good candidate for LASIK. Keep in mind that the only surefire way to determine this is through a comprehensive eye exam conducted by our experienced eye care professional. We will measure your corneal thickness, evaluate your vision prescription, and thoroughly check your eyes and overall health to ascertain whether LASIK is a suitable option for you.

Eye Qualifications

Eye Qualifications

People who are mildly nearsighted tend to have the best success rates with refractive surgery such as LASIK.

There are a variety of eye conditions that can be contraindications for LASIK surgery as it can cause many complications. These include:

  • Dry eyes
  • Keratoconus - a progressive disease the causes the cornea to become thin resulting in a decrease of vision quality
  • Various eye infections affecting different parts of the eye including keratitis, uveitis, herpes simplex
  • Eye injuries
  • Issues with the eyelids
  • Large pupils
  • Glaucoma 
  • Cataracts
Health Conditions

Health Conditions

There are certain health considerations that must be taken into account, even if they do not seem directly related to your eyes. The surgeon will ask you details about your overall health as certain conditions can make the outcome of LASIK surgery less predictable and thus must be considered. Some health issues include:

  • Any autoimmune disorders or conditions that make healing more difficult or increase the chance of infection such as rheumatoid arthritis or HIV
  • Taking immunosuppressive medications for any reason
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic pain conditions such as migraines or irritable bowel syndrome
  • Depression 

The above health issues could increase the risk of complications and the chance of having a difficult healing process. If you have any of these health conditions, please discuss it with the surgeon to decide if you can get LASIK.

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Alternatives to LASIK

Alternatives to LASIK

LASIK is a popular option for those looking to reduce their dependence on glasses or contact lenses, however it’s important to know that there are many alternatives to this type of surgery. Each method of surgery comes with its own risks and benefits and it’s important to consult with your eye doctor to figure out the best option for you. Other refractive surgical procedures include photorefractive keratometry (PRK), laser epithelial keratomileusis (LASEK), small incision lenticule extraction (SMILE), and phakic intraocular lens.

Another alternative to LASIK which does not involve surgery and is reversible, is a very special type of contact lens called orthokeratology, otherwise known as Ortho-K. This method uses contact lenses that are only worn each night, at which time it reshapes the cornea, so that when waking up in the morning, these contact lenses are removed and the person can spend the day seeing with very clear eyesight and without any glasses or contact lenses. Please schedule an appointment at our office to discuss Ortho-K and the various laser eye surgery methods. Our eye doctor will be glad to go through the options with you to figure out which one best suits your needs.

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Common Questions

LASIK is performed as a refractive surgery to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and/ or astigmatism. After LASIK is performed, people who previously needed to wear glasses or contact lenses frequently will be able to see in certain conditions without glasses or contact lenses. Nearsightedness allows for clear vision at near, but viewing objects at a distance is unclear. People who are farsighted can see well at a distance but have difficulty seeing objects from closeby. Astigmatism causes blurry vision due to the shape or size of the cornea. A cornea that has uneven curvature results in astigmatism. The best results of LASIK tend to be for those who have mild nearsightedness.
The success rate for LASIK is very high, however it is still important to be aware of the rare possible side effects. Common side effects include dry eyes and visual disturbances, but for most people these go away after a few weeks or months so they are not considered to be long term issues. The possible side effects include: Dry eyes, Glare, Halos, Double vision, Under or overcorrection, Infection. If you are considering LASIK, the surgeon and professional team will properly discuss with you the risks involved.
The vast majority of LASIK surgery procedures are successful without significant pain following the procedure. In most cases there will be some slight discomfort for a few days following surgery. In some cases, patients may experience severe pain after LASIK surgery for up to one month, and in extremely rare cases for longer than one month. In the unfortunate case that you do experience severe or extended pain, you should see your eye surgeon or optometrist that is co-managing the surgery right away. There are a number of flap-related issues that can cause severe pain, but these issues can usually be fixed. The most common cause of flap issues is non-compliance with post-operative instructions. For example, rubbing your eyes after surgery is not recommended, regardless of how itchy or irritated they are. The corneal flap could become dislodged when you rub your eyes immediately after LASIK surgery. Patients should also avoid getting their eyes wet with streaming water, such as when showering. If you do not follow these instructions, you may experience pain.
To know if you're a good candidate for LASIK, you must undergo a thorough eye examination by our qualified optometrist. They'll assess various factors such as your overall health, age, stability of vision prescription, eye health, and corneal thickness. The results of these evaluations will determine your eligibility. It's essential to have an honest and open discussion with our eye care professional to understand if LASIK is the right choice for you.
LASIK isn't suitable for everyone. People with unstable vision prescriptions, those with autoimmune diseases or pregnant women, and individuals with certain eye conditions like glaucoma, keratoconus, or thin corneas might not be eligible. Moreover, if you are under 18, you are generally not allowed to undergo LASIK, as the vision isn't typically stabilized at this age.
To be eligible for LASIK, you must be at least 18 years old with a stable vision prescription for at least one year. You should be in good overall health, and your eyes must be free from infections or injuries. Additionally, you must have appropriate corneal thickness to withstand the LASIK procedure. Your eye doctor can perform a comprehensive eye exam to determine your LASIK eligibility.
Yes, you can get LASIK at 18. This is the minimum age required as it is generally when vision stabilizes. However, the stability of your vision prescription and overall eye health must still be assessed to ensure that you are a good candidate for the procedure.
The youngest age at which you can typically undergo LASIK is 18 years. This is because the vision usually stabilizes around this age. However, each case is unique, and a thorough eye examination by our experienced optometrist is crucial to determine suitability. If you or your child is considering LASIK, you can consult with your eye doctor.
LASIK can be an excellent option for a 20-year-old, assuming they meet the eligibility criteria. It includes having a stable vision prescription, good overall health, and sufficient corneal thickness. However, it is critical to consult with a qualified optometrist to ensure that LASIK is the best choice given the individual's vision, health status and lifestyle.
Am I a Candidate for LASIK?
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Summary

A certain type of laser eye surgery, known as LASIK, is an elective surgery which changes the shape and curvature of the front part of your eye in order to replace the need to wear glasses or contact lenses. For many who wear glasses or contact lenses, this is an exciting alternative. However, not every person is qualified or suitable for this type of surgery. It is very important to understand the necessary factors which make this a viable option. 

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