LASIK Eye Surgery Requirements: Who Is Eligible for LASIK?

lasik eye surgery requirements

LASIK eye surgery is the most common laser vision correction procedure, and it has helped millions of people around the world achieve clear vision. Most people across almost all age groups are good candidates for this procedure, but there are a few health conditions and other factors that can raise your risk of complications after LASIK. If you don’t meet the criteria to be a LASIK candidate, your vision may not improve as much as you like or it could even get worse.

Here’s everything you need to know about whether you’re a good candidate for LASIK surgery. There are also several alternative options to LASIK that can provide the same amount of vision improvement.

Understanding LASIK Surgery

LASIK eye surgery is a non-invasive, laser vision correction procedure that has been successfully performed on millions of people since it was FDA-approved in the mid-1990s.

During the procedure, a corneal flap is created so your surgeon can access the cornea underneath that needs to be reshaped. Then they will reshape your cornea using a programmed laser and lay the flap back into place, which heals on its own without stitches.

Both the actual procedure and the recovery process are quick and simple. Most patients have little to no discomfort and can return to work within a day or two.

LASIK can treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism and reduce your dependence on glasses and contacts. 

LASIK Surgery Candidate Criteria

For LASIK to provide the best results for your eyes, you need to be a good candidate for the procedure. Key criteria include things like eye health, overall health, and stable vision.

Here what’s you need to consider before getting LASIK surgery:

    • Age considerations: LASIK is best suited for people between the ages of 18 and 60. Patients in their 40s and older should know that they may still need reading glasses after LASIK because of an age-related condition called presbyopia. If you are over 60, you may still qualify for the procedure if you don’t have cataracts. 
    • Stable vision: Teenagers and young adults often experience yearly changes in their glasses and contacts prescriptions. To undergo LASIK, your vision needs to have been stable for about three years. If your prescription is very high, your surgeon may advise against LASIK.
    • Overall health: Good LASIK candidates are generally healthy and don’t have conditions that can inhibit their healing process. Certain uncontrolled autoimmune and degenerative diseases can preclude you from getting LASIK, including rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and AIDS. 
    • Pregnancy and breastfeeding considerations: The hormones released during pregnancy and breastfeeding can alter the shape of the cornea and cause vision changes, so LASIK should only be performed a few months postpartum after the hormones and vision have restabilized. Additionally, medications that may be used for the procedure, such as antibiotics and steroids, can be risky for babies, whether unborn or nursing. 
    • Eye health: Your eyes should be generally healthy, without cataracts that interfere with your vision or uncontrolled glaucoma. Eye injuries, infection, conjunctivitis, severe dry eye syndrome, and similar issues must be resolved before LASIK surgery. If you have persistent dry eyes, LASIK may aggravate this condition, and it should be evaluated and treated before LASIK. Very thin or irregular corneas or very large pupils may also preclude you from getting LASIK.
    • Lifestyle factors: LASIK is a good vision correction option for people in many different occupations, but it’s not ideal for those who participate in high-contact sports or similar activities where they may take a hit to the eye.

How to Assess Your LASIK Eligibility

  1. To determine if LASIK is right for you, you can start by taking a LASIK self-test. This test will ask you questions to help you understand whether you meet the key criteria to be a good LASIK candidate. 
  2. If you think you do, the next step is to book a comprehensive eye exam and consultation with a LASIK surgeon.
  3. During your eye exam, your surgeon will perform imaging and measurements to confirm that you’re a good candidate and create a plan to correct your vision. Your surgeon will check your:
    1. Refractive errors (myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism)
    2. Corneal thickness and shape
    3. Pupil size
    4. Eye dryness, if applicable

Alternatives to LASIK

If you’re not a candidate for LASIK, there are many other procedures that can correct your vision.

SMILE Laser Surgery

SMILE, or Small Incision Lenticule Extraction, laser surgery is similar to LASIK but less invasive. The incision is smaller and there is no flap created during surgery. This procedure uses one laser, while LASIK uses two. If you have an active lifestyle that doesn’t make you a good candidate for LASIK, SMILE laser surgery may be an ideal option for you.

SMILE laser surgery is approved to treat myopia and astigmatism. It has a quick, comfortable recovery period similar to LASIK.

Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)

PRK is an alternative to both LASIK and SMILE eye surgery. PRK surgery is recommended for patients who have a cornea thinner than what is advised for LASIK, have dry eyes, or participate in high-contact sports and are more likely to take a hit to the eye.

PRK surgery is performed on the surface of the cornea rather than a deeper layer. It does not create a corneal flap or remove tissue using a laser the same way LASIK does. However, the healing process for PRK is longer than for LASIK.

EVO ICL Surgery

The EVO ICL is a reflective lens implant that can correct myopia and astigmatism. The lens is soft and flexible, much like a contact lens. The surgery to insert the lens does not remove any corneal tissue.

EVO ICL surgery is ideal for those who aren’t good candidates for LASIK because of a very high prescription, thin corneas, or dry eyes. EVO ICL surgery is also reversible.

The procedure and recovery for EVO ICL surgery are quick and comfortable.

Custom Lens Replacement

Custom lens replacement surgery replaces the natural lens of the eye with an intraocular lens (IOL) that can correct myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, and cataracts. You can opt to have a multifocal lens implanted, which will help provide clear vision at every distance.

Custom lens replacement is ideal for older people with hyperopia or myopia who want to decrease their need for glasses and contacts.

Corneal Cross-Linking (CXL)

Corneal cross-linking is a procedure that can treat progressively worsening astigmatism to stop vision loss and potentially improve vision. Patients with astigmatism have asymmetric, elongated corneas that don’t reflect light properly and cause poor vision.

Normal corneas have crosslinks between their collagen fibers that keep them strong and able to retain their normal shape. During corneal cross-linking, crosslinks are added to the cornea to make it more stable, able to hold its shape, and focus light better for clearer vision. 

Schedule a LASIK Consultation at Toledo LASIK

If you’re considering getting LASIK to reduce your dependence on glasses and contacts, the expert ophthalmologists and LASIK surgeons at Toledo LASIK can thoroughly examine your eyes and determine whether LASIK is the right procedure for your vision needs.

Don’t let concerns about LASIK pricing get in the way of your best vision. We provide insurance discounts and financing on LASIK procedures.

See testimonials from former Toledo LASIK patients about how LASIK improved their vision and quality of life.

If there are factors that don’t make you a good candidate for LASIK, we can recommend another laser vision correction procedure that can deliver the results you’re looking for.

Start by taking our LASIK self-test or scheduling your free consultation today. 

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