What Makes You a Candidate for LASIK Surgery?

What Makes You a Candidate for LASIK Surgery?

Did you know that in 2010 about 800,000 refractive surgeries like LASIK were performed in the United States? LASIK stands for Laser-assisted In Situ Keratomileusis. It's a surgical procedure that aims to reduce a patient's dependency on eyeglasses or contact lenses. The operation involves permanently changing the shape of the cornea using an excimer laser.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, LASIK is the most popular elective procedure in the world. In fact, more than 28 million LASIK surgeries have been carried out worldwide. But did you know that this type of eye operation is not suitable for everyone? Here are some important considerations in determining whether you're a good candidate for LASIK surgery:




  • You Have Healthy Eyes.  The overall health of your eyes will determine how well they will heal after your surgery. Generally speaking, your eye doctor needs to resolve any active infections, abrasions, or inflammations before you undergo LASIK. If you suffer from severe dry eye disease, the procedure may only aggravate your symptoms. You may not also be eligible for this procedure if you have keratoconus or any eye disease affecting the shape or function of your cornea. Other considerations are a history of herpes-related eye infections as well as risks for glaucoma and retinal tears. 


  • Your Lens Prescription Is Within Treatment Range. LASIK surgery can correct a wide range of refractive errors. These include nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. The range generally varies between different kinds of LASIK surgeries. Nevertheless, the excimer laser for LASIK approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States can correct about -11.00 diopters (D) for nearsightedness, +5.00 D for farsightedness, and 5.00 D for astigmatism. If your lens prescription is too high, your eye surgeon may recommend an alternative to correct your vision. 


  • You Have Corneas That Are Thick Enough. Higher lens prescription means the removal of more corneal tissue for vision correction. As you know, LASIK surgery involves cutting a flap on the cornea. Then the surgeon uses a laser to remove the tissue underneath the flap. If you have thin corneas, the operation may increase your risk of developing corneal ectasia. It's a sight-threatening condition that usually develops several months to a year following LASIK. In ectasia, the surface of the cornea is so irregular that light is scattered once it hits the eye. This results in blurred vision, double vision, glare, halos, eye strain, and headaches. These symptoms are not easily treated with eyeglasses or soft contact lenses. 


  • Other Factors to Consider. Besides the overall health of your eyes, lens prescription, and corneal thickness, you need to consider a few more factors. You must be at least 18 years old to qualify for LASIK surgery. But it's highly recommended to wait until you are in your 20s. This is to ensure that your vision has already stabilized for the most part. Your surgeon will also check whether you have had stable vision for the past year or two. This aspect reduces the risk of regression and having to undergo a touch-up procedure. Lastly, you must have realistic expectations about LASIK surgery. 


For more on candidates for LASIK surgery, visit Trinity Vision Center in Walla Walla, Washington. Call 509-260-3500 to schedule an appointment today.