LASIK is a type of refractive laser eye surgery that is performed to improve vision errors and decrease the dependency on glasses or contact lenses.
LASER EYE SURGERY
LASIK is a surgical eye procedure that is performed to correct one’s eyesight, reducing the need for glasses or contact lenses. LASIK is a procedure that permanently changes the shape of the cornea, the clear covering of the front of the eye, using an excimer laser. By reshaping the cornea, the refractive error is corrected and vision is improved.
Your Eyes Are Unique!
Your eyes are as unique as your fingerprints – no two eyes are the same. Even your two eyes are different from each other. The recommended eye surgery for you will be based on a visual eye exam by your doctor. After the doctor examines your eyes, he will be able to tell you whether you are a good candidate for either conventional or custom LASIK eye surgery. If you do not meet patient criteria for LASIK, you may qualify for other laser eye surgery options.
Are You a Good LASIK Candidate?
LASIK eye surgery has successfully treated many individuals with refractive errors, but there are some people who are not good candidates for the procedure. Before LASIK surgery is performed, a doctor should conduct pre-op tests and exams to make sure a patient meets the criteria for LASIK eye surgery. Determining if someone is a good candidate for LASIK surgery is important in determining the outcome of surgery. Many problems can be avoided by properly screening patients.
If you wear contact lenses, you will want to stop wearing them before your initial LASIK exam. Contact lenses change the shape of the cornea and it takes some time for the eyes to settle into their natural curvature. It is important to allow enough time for your eyes to stablize before proceeding with LASIK otherwise the measurements will not be accurate and the results could be disastrous. Refer to the chart below for average time needed depending on the type of contact lenses you wear.
Timetable for Not Wearing Contact Lenses Before LASIK Exam
An individual’s vision should be stable for at least a year before laser eye surgery is performed. Many children and teens who have refractive errors want to have LASIK surgery, but because eyes continue to change until growth is complete, it isn’t until the early twenties that most doctors will consider LASIK an option.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Women who are pregnant or nursing will need to wait until hormone levels return to normal and the eyes stabilize before having laser eye surgery.
It is also important that the eyes are healthy and that the patient doesn’t have any conditions that would make them unsuitable for LASIK, such as severe dry eyes and corneas that are too thin or steep. However, for people who are not good candidates for LASIK because of severe dry eye or thin corneas, there are other laser eye surgery options that may be appropriate.
Another health issue that may make a person unsuitable for LASIK is the presence of an autoimmune disease. The concern with autoimmune conditions is the unexpected and undesirable responses to eye surgery. The FDA has listed autoimmune conditions as a contraindication for laser eye surgery, meaning it is not approved or advised. Although performing LASIK on a person with an autoimmune condition is an off-label use of a medical device, a doctor may legally perform the surgery if they feel it is medically appropriate. Many individuals with autoimmune conditions have undergone LASIK surgery and had successful results. If you have an autoimmune condition and want to consider laser eye surgery, make sure you discuss this with your eye surgeon, your primary care doctor, and a neurologist.
Although laser eye surgery is considered a relatively safe procedure, it is still major medical surgery. As an elective procedure, prospective patients should become informed about the LASIK procedure and learn about the options, benefits, risks and complications, so that they can make an informed decision. It is important for patients to get an explanation of the procedure from the doctor in order to know what to expect before, during, and after LASIK surgery. Overall, the decision to undergo laser eye surgery involves choosing the best procedure, finding a qualified doctor, and determining if you are a good candidate for laser eye surgery.