Are You a LASIK Candidate?
There are multiple factors that are evaluated to find out if you are a LASIK Candidate – it’s not something you can just guess at. Your current eye doctor, unless he has had proper training, cannot even tell you if you are a good candidate because making that determination goes beyond just knowing your refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism) and your prescription.
A comprehensive LASIK evaluation is the only way to ensure your candidacy for LASIK or any other vision correction procedure.
There is a lot of information about LASIK, but spending days, weeks or even months reading and researching is pointless if your eyes are not even suitable for LASIK.
During the evaluation, we look at four determining factors in your eyesight.
- Age – LASIK is best suited for people 18 years old or older. Eyesight usually stabilizes somewhere between the ages of 18 and 20. If you are older than 60, you may not be ruled out for LASIK but you are more likely to have other eye problems such as cataracts or presbyopia. Treatments for those problems are available and can often achieve many of the same results as LASIK.
- Eye Health – The two main eyesight issues that could prevent you from having LASIK: Keratoconus and Cataracts. Keratoconus is a disease of the cornea that can often be misdiagnosed. To prevent operating on a bad candidate and to prevent turning away a good candidate for LASIK, we will always double check this diagnosis. Cataracts are the clouding of your lens, and while they won’t always keep you from having LASIK, we will always verify the type and location of the cataract during our LASIK evaluation. Your candidacy for LASIK will depend upon the size, type and location of the cataract. A third problem is dry eyes. LASIK always makes the eye drier until it heals for 3 to 6 months. We avoid operating on significantly dry eyes until they have improved sufficiently with treatment, or we may recommend PRK as an alternative - or recommend no operation at all.
- Thickness of Your Cornea – The first step in the LASIK procedure is creating a corneal flap which requires a thick enough cornea to maintain strength and shape. Thin corneas can result in complications, though with the advancement in technology, we can offer other solutions for vision correction if you have thin corneas.
- Your General Health – Some physical illnesses or conditions can rule out LASIK. Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, or Fibromyalgia (FMS) can indicate a compromised autoimmune system which might complicate the healing process. Osteoarthritis or age-related arthritis is not a problem as far as LASIK is concerned. If you have any questions about which type of arthritis you have, give us a call and we will help you sort it out.
Diabetes can rule out LASIK as unstable blood sugar levels affect the precise measurements necessary for the procedure. Also, diabetes can cause diabetic retinopathy that may compromise vision due to changes in the retina. This, too, may be a LASIK contraindication. We’ll help you establish whether or not diabetes is an issue at the consultation.
Pregnancy for some women can cause temporary changes in their eyes. For that reason, we normally do not perform LASIK during pregnancy as we want to make sure we are treating the person’s real prescription and not a temporary change; this is decided at our doctors’ discretion. We prefer to treat new mothers after 3 months post-partum or wait until after nursing is completed.
What if I am not a LASIK Candidate?
If you are not a good candidate for LASIK, we also provide other vision correction procedures that can produce the same result as LASIK. After a full evaluation, Dr. Henderson or Dr. Falknor will be able to determine which procedure may be best for you.
- PRK – treats the cornea without the need for a flap
- Implantable Contact Lens (ICLs)– for nearsightedness that is too severe for LASIK or PRK
- Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) – for farsighted patients over the age of 40