Is LASIK right for me?
You are probably NOT a good candidate for refractive surgery if:
- It might jeopardize your career. Certain professions prohibit refractive procedures such as LASIK for their practitioners. Check with your employer or professional society or military superior to make sure this is not the case for you.
- You are into heavy contact sports. If you box or wrestle or do any other sport where you will get blows to the face and eyes, you are not a good candidate for LASIK.
- Cost is an issue. Most medical insurance doesn'tt pay for refractive surgery such as LASIK. Although the cost is coming down, this is a consideration.
- You are under 18 years old.. Currently, LASIK is not approved by the FDA for people under 18 years old. Your eyes need to be mature and stable for best outcome.
- You required a change in your contact lens or glasses prescription in the past year. This is called refractive instability. It could be because of fluctuating hormones caused by disease like diabetes, or medications, or even because you are 20 or younger.
- You have a disease or are on medications that may affect your ability to heal quickly . Some diseases and some medications affect your body's ability to heal which might prevent proper healing after the procedure.
- You are risk averse. Any surgical procedure has a small risk. There is no long term outcome data for LASIK, as the procedure is a fairly recent development in remedial vision surgery.
The safety and effectiveness of procedures such as LASIK have not been determined in patients with some diseases. Discuss with your doctor if you have a history of any of the following:
- Eye injuries or previous eye surgeries.
- Herpes simplex or Herpes zoster (shingles) involving the eye area.
- Glaucoma, glaucoma suspect, or ocular hypertension.
- Eye diseases, such as uveitis/iritis (inflammations of the eye)
Other Risk Factors
Your doctor should screen you for the following conditions or indicators of risk:
- Previous refractive surgery (e.g., RK, PRK, LASIK). Additional refractive surgery may not be recommended. The decision to have additional refractive surgery must be made in consultation with your doctor after careful consideration of your unique situation.
- Dry Eyes. LASIK surgery tends to aggravate this condition.
- Blepharitis. Inflammation of the eyelids with crusting of the eyelashes, that may increase the risk of infection or inflammation of the cornea after LASIK.
- Large pupils. Make sure this evaluation is done in a dark room. Although anyone may have large pupils, younger patients and patients on certain medications may be particularly prone to having large pupils under dim lighting conditions. This can cause symptoms such as glare, halos, starbursts, and ghost images (double vision) after surgery. In some patients these symptoms may be debilitating. For example, a patient may no longer be able to drive a car at night or in certain weather conditions, such as fog.
- Thin Corneas. The cornea is the thin clear covering of the eye that is over the iris, the colored part of the eye. Most refractive procedures change the eye’s focusing power by reshaping the cornea (for example, by removing tissue). Performing a refractive procedure on a cornea that is too thin may result in blinding complications.