Wearing glasses or contacts can be a hassle and many people find themselves asking, “Am I a candidate for LASIK eye surgery?” Only your doctor will be able to determine if you will benefit from this procedure, but before you schedule that initial appointment there are a few questions you can ask yourself.
Is Your Vision Stable?
Minor changes in vision are common, but you’ll get the best results from your LASIK surgery if your eyesight has been stable for at least a year. Changes to your prescription indicate that your eyesight is changing and will likely continue to change even after surgery is complete. Waiting until your eyesight stabilizes will help you to avoid having to redo the procedure when your vision changes again.
Am I Old Enough?
While LASIK surgery can occasionally be performed on minors, generally it is best to wait since vision is usually not stabilized at this young of an age. Some doctors even recommend waiting until you are in your mid-twenties to undergo LASIK. Additionally some older patients may be at an increased risk of cataracts after undergoing LASIK surgery. As the technology changes and becomes more advanced more LASIK options may become available for older and younger patients. Don’t automatically assume that you are too young or too old for LASIK; only a doctor can determine if your eyes are ready to undergo this procedure.
Are My Pupils Too Large?
Patients with large pupils are not good candidates for LASIK. If you have large pupils that dilate to 8-9mm in the dark, your pupils will be dilating wider than the zone of treatment from LASIK and cause reflection of in-coming light off the edge of the treatment zone thus causing halos, glare, decreased contrast sensitivity and starbursts. Your doctor can easily measure your pupil size and recommend if surgery is a good option for you.
What is Your Lifestyle Like?
LASIK surgery is a great alternative to wearing glasses or contacts for many people, but depending on your lifestyle it might not be a good fit. Blows to the face and eyes can cause problems after LASIK surgery so the procedure is not advised for those that actively participate in wrestling, boxing or other similar contact sports.
Do You Have Existing Eye Disease?
Some eye diseases may make LASIK an unsuitable option. For example patients with cataracts may find that a cataract removal procedure combined with a lens implant will be more beneficial than LASIK. Cornea disease, glaucoma and macular degeneration are a few conditions that may LASIK surgery more complex or not advisable.
What Medical Conditions Do You Have?
While having overall healthy eyes is typically important for LASIK surgery, so is the overall health of your body. Patients with diabetes that opt to undergo LASIK surgery may need special care during the procedure and may experience longer recovery times. Well controlled blood sugar levels are essential for any diabetic considering LASIK. LASIK surgery may not be possible for some patients with diabetic retinopathy.
Diseases that slow the body’s ability to heal can make LASIK surgery more complicated. Patients with autoimmune diseases or immunodeficiency diseases should carefully consult with their doctor.
Certain medications may also have an impact on a patient’s ability to have LASIK surgery. If you are taking any medications make sure you tell your doctor and discuss the potential risks before undergoing LASIK surgery. Your doctor needs all of your medical information to be able to provide the best recommendations for you regarding this procedure.
Is LASIK Allowed in Your Profession?
Some careers prohibit refractive surgeries like LASIK. It is important to check with your employer before undergoing surgery to ensure that the procedure won’t cause problems with your employment. In some cases LASIK surgery may make certain careers possible since wearing glasses or contacts can be difficult in some professions. It is always wise to check with employers or prospective employers before undergoing surgery.
Are You Pregnant?
Pregnancy can change the shape of the eye and temporarily impact your vision. The medications used in the surgery have not been tested on pregnant women or developing babies. Additionally pregnancy can cause dry eyes, potentially leading to difficulties healing from the procedure. It is generally best to wait until after pregnancy and breastfeeding are complete before undergoing LASIK surgery.
Can You Afford It?
LASIK surgery can be expensive and most insurance policies will not cover the cost of the procedure. While many people consider the surgery to be an investment both in their eyesight and quality of life, it is still an important financial decision. Talk with your doctor about the cost of the procedure and determine if you can afford it.
Do You Understand the Risks?
LASIK surgery does carry potential risks and it is important to understand the risks before undergoing the procedure. Make sure you talk with your doctor about the potential risks, including those risks that are specific to you, and determine if you are still interested in the surgery.