Wonder what it’s like to see clearly from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed? Tired of the hassle that comes with glasses and contacts? It may be time for LASIK surgery.
Although the idea of eye surgery may seem scary, the LASIK procedure is generally considered to be safe. So who’s a good candidate for LASIK? First let’s dive into the basics, and then cover who’s a good fit for the procedure.
What is LASIK?
LASIK is an eye surgery that corrects nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. During the procedure, the surgeon will create a thin flap in the cornea using a laser. The surgeon then folds back the flap and removes some corneal tissue. For nearsighted patients, the cornea is flattened. For farsighted people, the cornea is steepened. And for patients with astigmatism, the cornea is smoothed into a more normal shape. There is no pain during the procedure, as the surgeon applies numbing eye drops before surgery. The procedure has a short recovery time, and most people are able to return to work the very next day.
How successful is LASIK?
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 90% of LASIK patients achieve vision somewhere between 20/20 and 20/40. However, there is a chance that patients will still need to use corrective lenses periodically, such as when driving in the dark.
The risks of developing complications from LASIK are very low, about 1%. However, it is still important to weigh the risks against the benefits. Some potential side effects are severe dry eye syndrome, a loss in vision, or a glare, halo or double vision at night or in fog. Speaking with an ophthalmologist can help determine whether the risks outweigh the cons.
Who’s a good candidate?
While LASIK surgery cannot guarantee 20/20 vision, most cases are successful in improving visual clarity and sharpness. Not everyone is a good fit for the procedure, though. To be eligible for LASIK, candidates must:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Be in good general health. Patients should not have certain health problems such as uncontrolled diabetes, autoimmune disease, or be taking any medication or have any condition that compromises the immune system.
- Have good eye health. Patients should not have any eye diseases such as keratoconus, glaucoma, cataracts, or corneal disease. They also should not have any eye infections, injury, or chronic dry eye condition.
- Not nursing or pregnant. Hormones can affect the stability of eye prescription, so pregnant or nursing women are not eligible for LASIK until three menstrual cycles after they have finished nursing.
- Have stable vision (no contacts). Patient vision must be stable for at least one year prior to the procedure date. This means that patients will not be allowed to wear contact lenses for a certain length of time before the procedure (usually 2-4 weeks, depending on the individual). This ensures a more accurate assessment of eye prescription prior to the LASIK procedure.
For more resources on determining LASIK eligibility, there is an online screening test that is completely anonymous and does not require contact information here. However, ultimately only an experienced optometrist or ophthalmologist can determine candidacy based on an evaluation of the patient’s eyes, expectations and lifestyle.
Ready for LASIK surgery or want more information? Reach out to one of our experienced doctors today.