Have you thought about having LASIK but are afraid you don’t qualify for the vision correction procedure? Don’t be!
Most patients who go in for a LASIK consultation make good candidates for LASIK. Only 10-15% get screened out. If you want LASIK, it’s well worth getting a consultation to see if it’s right for you.
If you’re curious about what makes a good LASIK candidate, there are a few factors to consider. Some of these factors you can evaluate for yourself, like your age or how long your prescription has been stable.
But other factors you need to have your eye doctor evaluate. That’s why everyone who wants LASIK has to have a consultation first.
Keep reading for 6 of the most important LASIK candidacy factors!
To get LASIK, you have to be at least 18. The refractive procedure is only FDA-approved on patients at least 18 years of age.
Many LASIK surgeons prefer patients in their mid to late twenties before undergoing the procedure for the best results. Before this age, your eyes are still growing and developing.
It’s more likely your eyesight will change significantly after having LASIK if you get LASIK too young. LASIK permanently alters the shape of your eyes.
The procedure will be less effective if your prescription changes significantly after having LASIK. But with that comes another caveat: the stability of your vision.
2. Prescription Stability
Not only do you have to be a certain age to have LASIK, but no matter how old you are, your vision needs to be stable. That means your prescription hasn’t changed in at least a year at a minimum.
Stable vision is a critical component of LASIK’s success. If your prescription is still changing, you’ll need to wait before having LASIK. You may not qualify for LASIK now, but you may be a good candidate once your prescription levels out.
In addition to your eyes remaining unchanged, you must have a prescription within certain limits. Luckily, LASIK can correct refractive errors for most people.
It can correct up to -11.00 diopters of nearsightedness, +5.00 diopters of farsightedness, and 5.00 diopters of astigmatism. These treatment limits cover a wide range of prescriptions.
Chances are, your prescription will be within these limits. If you have a more severe refractive error outside these limits, you may need to discuss LASIK alternatives.
At Loden Vision Centers, these may include procedures like PRK, the Visian ICL, or Refractive Lens Exchange. You can discuss your options during your LASIK consultation if you find out you aren’t a good candidate.
For any elective surgical procedure, you should be in good health. As LASIK is an elective procedure, it’s necessary to be healthy.
Autoimmune conditions like Sjogren’s syndrome or lupus, to name a few, may make it more challenging to recover from the procedure. You also shouldn’t be pregnant or nursing.
You need to have healthy eyes before undergoing LASIK, meaning you shouldn’t have other eye conditions like cataracts or glaucoma. If you have dry eye syndrome, you may still be able to have LASIK, but you need to have your dry eye treated first.
Part of your LASIK evaluation includes assessing your tear quality. You may not know if you have dry eye syndrome.
If you do, your eye doctor can diagnose you and start treatment for the eye condition. If treatment improves your tear quality, you may still be able to have LASIK safely.
But if you have persistent, untreated dry eye syndrome, healing from a laser vision correction procedure like LASIK can be very difficult. A healthy body, immune system, and eyes make you a good LASIK candidate.
4. Corneal Thickness
You probably don’t know how thick your corneas are, and that’s okay. How thick your corneas are is another thing you’ll have measured during your LASIK consultation.
The cornea, the clear, front part of the eye, is what you have reshaped during LASIK. A large part of what makes LASIK so successful is creating a flap in the cornea.
Most of the procedure is done underneath this flap, shaping your cornea with a laser to correct your vision. Once LASIK is over, your surgeon replaces the flap, where it acts as a natural bandage while your eyes heal.
Most people have corneas that are thick enough to allow a corneal flap. But you might have perfectly healthy eyes and still have a thin cornea.
If your cornea is too thin, creating a flap could leave you with too little corneal tissue, causing extreme warping and visual aberrations. For this reason, your cornea must be a certain thickness to have LASIK.
If your cornea is too thin, you may still be able to have an alternate refractive laser eye surgery that doesn’t require a corneal flap, like PRK or the Visian ICL. Talk to your eye doctor about alternatives if you aren’t a LASIK candidate.
5. Pupil Size
Along with your corneas, you’ll have the size of your pupils measured as part of a LASIK evaluation. If your pupils are too large, LASIK surgery may cause visual aberrations in low light, affecting your night vision.
You may not make a good candidate for LASIK if your pupils are above a certain size. You may still be able to have an alternate vision correction procedure, though.
6. The Right Expectations
Perhaps the most crucial thing any LASIK candidate should have before having LASIK is the right expectations. Know that most patients that get LASIK end up with 20/20 vision or better, but it’s not a guarantee.
Also, know what the risks of the procedure are. Significant complications from LASIK surgery are rare, but ensure you’re fully informed of all risks before having it. Be sure to talk to your LASIK surgeon about these risks, so you have realistic expectations.
If you meet the above qualifications and know what you’re getting into, LASIK surgery can improve your life. LASIK can give you visual freedom from glasses and contact lenses and show you a new world with your best vision.
But you’ll never know if it’s for you unless you get evaluated! Schedule your LASIK consultation at Loden Vision Centers in Nashville, TN, to find out!