Am I a LASIK Candidate?
LASIK gives you freedom from glasses and contact lenses. It is a quick and easy procedure, and most patients notice improvement in their vision on the day of surgery. But it is not right for everyone. Excellent LASIK surgeons carefully screen their patients because the key to a great LASIK outcome is only having the surgery if you are a good candidate. Those who are not good LASIK candidates can experience complications that may damage their vision. However, if you are not a good candidate for LASIK, you may be eligible for an alternative laser vision correction procedure, such as Epi-LASIK.
Laser Vision Correction Candidacy Basics
To be a good candidate for most types of laser vision correction, you must meet certain criteria:
- Stable vision
- Stable health
- Healthy immune system
Stable vision means that your prescription has not changed for at least one year. Also, you need to be at least 18 years old and most LASIK surgeons prefer that you be at least 21 or even as old as 24 before undergoing laser vision correction, so that your eyes have fully matured and will not be changing. There are some exceptions for children with serious vision problems that could become worse without correction and young adults with special circumstances.
If you have diabetes, it must be under control. You cannot have LASIK while you are pregnant because the hormonal changes affect your eyes. If you are planning to become pregnant, it may be better to wait until after you have had your baby or babies and your body has stabilized. Discuss it with you ophthalmologist.
LASIK is generally contraindicated for people with autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), lupus and multiple sclerosis (MS). Autoimmune conditions increase the risk of healing in unexpected ways resulting in a poor outcome. Each case is unique, and you may still be a candidate. Talk to your primary care physician and any specialists treating your autoimmune condition as well as your LASIK surgeon.
Your Eyes and LASIK Candidacy
Your eyes must be healthy:
- No infections for at least one year
- No eye diseases, such as cataracts, advanced glaucoma, or keratoconus
- No dry-eye syndrome
Your corneas play a very big role in whether you are a candidate for LASIK or will require an alternate laser vision surgery:
- Scarred corneas may disqualify you
- Thin corneas do not accommodate safe flap creation
- If you are severely nearsighted, your corneas are too steep for safe flap creation
Another consideration is pupil size. If you have large pupils, you are at greater risk for vision quality problems, such as glare and problems with night vision. However, custom LASIK may be appropriate or you may need to choose a type of laser vision correction, such as LASEK, that does not involve the creation of a flap.
To find out if you are a good LASIK candidate, you need to be evaluated by an experienced LASIK surgeon. Search this directory for LASIK surgeons near you.