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Are You a Good Candidate for Laser Eye Surgery?

You've probably heard about LASIK, or laser eye surgery, and wonder if it's a way you could reduce your dependency on glasses or contact lenses, or stop wearing them once and for all. But is LASIK right for you?

The best way to learn if you are a good candidate for LASIK eye surgery is to talk to a laser vision doctor who specializes in determining good candidates for LASIK. This article provides general information to help you decide if you should schedule that talk with the laser vision doctor and get an in-depth analysis of your vision health.

Can You Accept Reasonable Risk?
Like all surgical procedures, LASIK has the risk of complications and is not for everyone. Even when performed on the right patients, a complication-free laser eye surgery can result in less than 20/20 vision. A good candidate for LASIK is willing to accept reasonable risk and the possibility of rare complications.

How Old Are You?
Whether young or young at heart, good candidates for laser eye surgery must have a stable prescription for at least two years. While LASIK is FDA-approved for people aged 18 and older, young adults are commonly encouraged to wait until their mid-20s when their prescription may be more stable.

Around age 40, eyes start to change and a condition known as presbyopia can set in, making it difficult to see things within an arm’s length. LASIK cannot correct presbyopia, but surgeons can perform monovision laser surgery which leaves the non-dominant eye slightly nearsighted so that the patient can see items up close. As patients get older, eye diseases such as cataracts or glaucoma can keep them from being good candidates for LASIK.

When you get right down to it, eye surgeons perform laser eye surgery on patients at both ends of the age spectrum. If the eye lens is clear, and your eyes are healthy and stable, laser eye surgery may be right for you.

How's Your Health?
LASIK eye surgery patients are in overall good health and free of eye diseases. Patients with keratoconus, glaucoma, cataracts and certain retinal and optic nerve diseases are not good candidates for laser eye surgery. Good candidates are free of eye viruses such as herpes simplex and herpes zoster. Poor health problems, including collagen vascular disease, uncontrolled diabetes or autoimmune disease, and any medication or condition which renders the patient immunocompromised, can keep you from being a LASIK candidate.

Patients should make their doctor aware of health and eye problems that may affect the surgery or recovery, including:

  • lazy eye
  • muscle imbalance
  • severe dry eyes
  • previous eye surgery or injury
  • keloid scarring
  • any recurrent, residual or active eye conditions which may affect healing
  • back problems
  • claustrophobia
  • psychological problems

Are You Willing to Follow Through with Pre- and Post-Eye Surgery Responsibilities?
Preparing for laser eye surgery and caring for your eyes afterwards means following through on some important responsibilities.

For example, you may be asked to stop wearing contact lenses for two to four weeks leading up to the LASIK consultation and/or surgery. No cosmetics or perfumes should be worn during the surgery. Since you will be slightly sedated after the procedure, you should arrange for transportation to and from the doctor's office.

Post-surgery responsibilities may require you to comply with a medication schedule and follow-up eye exams. Those eye exams are critical to determining how well you heal following the laser eye surgery. Annual eye exams are still necessary to ensure your eye health remains in good condition.

Back to the Beginning
Determining whether you are a good candidate for LASIK or not requires an in-person examination and evaluation by a qualified laser vision doctor. If you think you are ready, make an appointment today for a free laser eye surgery screening. If your laser vision doctor agrees that LASIK is right for you, check out the LASIK special offers available to qualified VSP members.