Am I suitable for Laser Eye Surgery?
A large part of laser eye surgery success is determined by whether you’re a suitable
Modern laser eye surgery delivers excellent visual outcomes, but it’s not right for everyone. A large percentage achieve good vision without spectacles or contact lenses, but some people will need spectacles for occasional tasks such as driving or reading.
Who Is a good Laser Eye Surgery Candidate?
1. Your eyes are healthy – Your overall eye health determines how well your eyes heal after surgery. Any active eye infections, inflammation, or abrasions must be resolved before you undertake Laser Eye Surgery.
A history of any of the following eye conditions will make a less good candidate
Severe dry eye, Conjunctivitis (pink eye), Previous Eye injury or Eye Surgery, Keratoconus, Corneal dystrophy, Herpes-related eye infections, Glaucoma or risk factors for glaucoma (high eye pressure), Cataracts, Eye Inflammations (such as uveitis or iritis)
2. Your prescription is within range – Laser Eye Surgery procedures can treat a wide range of prescriptions, including:
Myopia (near-sightedness), up-to -8.00
Hypermetropia (far-sightedness), up-to +5.00
Astigmatism, up-to 3.00
Individual surgeons have there own limit that they will treat. If your prescription is too high, are alternative vision correction surgery. A refractive lens exchange or early cataract surgery are two procedures that can correct higher prescriptions.
3. Your corneas are thick enough – The higher your prescription, the more corneal tissue the laser must remove to correct your vision. If your corneas are thin, Laser Eye Surgery can increase your chances of corneal ectasia (bulging & thinning of the cornea). This vision-threatening condition is caused by abnormal corneal thinning.
4. You are within the proper age range – Typically, you must be at least 18 years old to have Laser Eye Surgery. However, it is best to wait until your mid-20s when your vision stabilizes. There is no upper age limit, however presbyopia begins after age 40. This process affects your ability to focus up close and continues until mid 60’s-70’s.
Laser Eye Surgery doesn’t correct your near vision unless you opt for monovision (One eye corrected for distance, and the other for reading). Otherwise, most patients who have Laser Eye Surgery need reading glasses once they reach their mid 40’s.
Older people are at increased risk of dry eyes and other eye conditions that may affect your eligibility for Laser Eye Surgery.
5. Your vision is stabe – You should have a stable prescription for a couple of years. This is why you need to wait till your mid 20’s as your eyes change most as you grow during your youth.
Other factors that can cause your vision to fluctuate include; Fluctuating hormones from diabetes or another disease, certain medications, pregnancy or breastfeeding.
6. Your pupils are not too large – people with larger pupils may be at greater risk for side effects after surgery that include: Starbursts, Halos & Glare. These symptoms prevent some people from driving at night or in certain conditions, such as the cinema.
7. Good General health – Certain autoimmune disorders or immunodeficiency diseases increase the risk of complications during the healing process. These include: Sjörgen’s syndrome, Rheumatoid arthritis, Type 1 diabetes, Lupus. People with these conditions tend to have severe dry eye problems and are at risk for a complication called corneal melting.
Diabetic patients may experience delayed wound healing after Laser Eye Surgery. They may also experience visual fluctuations related to blood sugar changes. However, it’s possible to have Laser Eye surgery if your diabetes is well-controlled and you don’t have any eye problems.
8. You don’t participate in High-Impact Activites or Sports – Consider your options carefully if you engage in high-impact sports such as rugby, boxing or martial arts. Although this complication is rare, eye trauma can potentially dislodge the corneal flap long after your surgery.
9. You have realistic expectations – before having laser Eye Surgery, you should consider the potential risks for side effects and complications. If your job requires precise vision, you may want to reconsider laser eye surgery in the event you experience any side effects.
Although Laser Eye surgery success rates are very high, expecting perfect vision may not be realistic. Even the refractive surgeon cannot completely predict how your eyes will heal after surgery. Also, you may need to wear glasses after surgery, such as for reading or night driving.
Laser Eye Surgery is a highly successful procedure, but not everyone is a good candidate.
A good candidate should have healthy eyes and good overall health, with stable vision. Thick enough corneas, and average-sized pupils are other important considerations for Laser Eye Surgery. Having a Dry Eye, will often be wose after Laser Eye Surgery.
If Laser Eye Surgery is not for you talk to your Optometrist about the alternatives.
Author: Andrew Martin