Read more about Am I a Candidate for LASIK?

Before we discuss who is a good candidate for LASIK, it is important to understand what LASIK is.

What is LASIK?

LASIK, sometimes referred to as laser eye surgery, is an eye surgery in which a laser is used to create a flap in the cornea. This procedure is used to correct myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism by reshaping the cornea so that a person can see clearly.

Who isn’t a good candidate for LASIK?

It's important to consider several different factors before considering LASIK surgery.

Stable vision

A patient considering LASIK must have stable vision and have worn glasses for over a year. This is important because if the patient’s vision and prescription hasn’t been stable, then it wouldn’t be the right time to go for LASIK surgery.

Thickness of cornea

The cornea of the candidate must also be of a certain thickness because a flap is created during the procedure, and the cornea must be thick enough to facilitate this. It may not be appropriate for a patient with a thin cornea to undergo LASIK.

Dry eyes

Those patients who have severe dry eyes and a damaged surface on the front of their eye may not be good candidates for LASIK. Dr. Sarah Pinkhasov treats her patients' dry eyes before she refers them out for LASIK surgery.

Corneal diseases

Furthermore, a patient with various corneal diseases, such as keratoconus, in which your cornea gets progressively thinner and reduces your vision, is not a good candidate for LASIK surgery.

Pregnant or breastfeeding

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are not candidates for LASIK due to increased risks and side effects.

Large pupils

Those with large pupils may be more susceptible to side effects of LASIK surgery since their pupils become even larger at night. When it gets larger the patient would be looking through the flap in the periphery causing glare and halo. Patient’s overall medical history also needs to be taken into account.

Autoimmune disorders

If a patient has any sort of autoimmune disorder, it may be difficult for them to heal after surgery, placing them at greater risk. Therefore, they may not be a good candidate for LASIK.

Maximum limits of nearsightedness and astigmatism for LASIK

  • Less than -8.0 diopters of myopia
  • Less than  -3.0 diopters of astigmatism
  • Less than -9.0 diopters nearsightedness with astigmatism

If you have astigmatism or nearsightedness in your eye, your nearsightedness did not change by more than 0.5 diopters during the year before your pre-operative examination.

What should you expect after getting LASIK surgery?

A doctor must understand why a patient wants LASIK surgery. For a patient who wants to never wear glasses again and they are 38 years old, they must be taught that even after LASIK as part of normal aging, they will need reading glasses after age 40. The result of LASIK may be that they no longer have to wear glasses far away, but they may still need to wear reading glasses, which may not be something they enjoy. So it's important to talk to patients about all these different various factors as well as making sure that the patient will have successful results from the surgery.

Alternatives to LASIK

In order to reduce glasses or contact lens dependence, LASIK can be a popular option. However, this surgery does not have to be the only alternative available.

Alternative refractive surgeries

There are risks and benefits associated with each type of surgery, and you should discuss your options with your eye doctor to determine which is the best one for you. Photorefractive keratomileusis (PRK), laser epithelial keratomileusis (LASEK), small incision lenticule extraction (SMILE), and phakic intraocular lenses are other refractive surgical procedures.

Non-surgical alternatives to LASIK

One of the best options for someone who wants to be glasses and contact lenses free is called OrthoK. OrthoK are specially designed contact lenses that are worn while you sleep. They gently shape your eye at night, leaving you glasses and contact lens free during the day. Many OrthoK patients only have to wear their orthoK lenses every few nights with the same results. This option is non-surgical, non-permanent, and has less risks than traditional surgery based options

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