Am I a Candidate for Laser Eye Surgery?

Millions of people require glasses or contact lenses to be able to see correctly. For some, relying on these forms of correction can be frustrating. Fortunately, there is a treatment option available that can make needing glasses or contacts a thing of the past. It is called Lasik, also known as laser eye surgery. During the procedure, your ophthalmologist will use a laser to correct your vision so that no correction would be needed.

If you are considering laser eye surgery, you would first need to figure out whether or not you would be a good candidate. There is no simple answer to this question.

Answer: There Are a Few Different Variables That Would Determine Whether Or Not You Are A Good Candidate

To determine whether or not you would be a good candidate for laser eye surgery, you would need to take a few things into consideration.

First, your eye would need to have reached maturity. Maturity typically occurs when you are 18-years-old. If you are under 18, your ophthalmologist would recommend that you wait. The procedure won't be effective on immature eyes. There are some providers who require patients to wait until they are 21-years-old before they can have the surgery. Another reason that ophthalmologists require you to wait until you are 18 or 21 is that your vision needs to have been stable for at least a year. Since it is common for teenagers and young adults to experience frequent changes in their prescription, you must meet the age requirement to be a good candidate for the surgery.

The second consideration is your eyeglass prescription. If you are nearsighted, laser surgery can correct your vision if your prescription is up to -11.00. If it is any higher than that, you wouldn't be a good candidate for the procedure. If you are farsighted, the procedure would be a viable option if your prescription is up to +5.00. Finally, if you have astigmatism, you would be a good candidate if your prescription is up to 5.00 D. You should understand that the higher your prescription, the more you are at risk of visual side effects such as halos around light and nighttime glare. You should discuss these possible side effects with your ophthalmologist during your consultation to determine whether or not laser eye surgery will be worth it in the long run.

Your eyes will need to be healthy and free of disease if you are going to be a good candidate for the procedure. If you have cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, keratoconus, and diabetic retinopathy laser eye surgery may not be an option.

Dry eye syndrome can make you a poor candidate for laser eye surgery. If you rely on artificial tears to keep your eyes moist, laser eye surgery can cause the symptoms of the condition to worsen. During your preoperative exam, your doctor will determine if your condition is severe enough to make you a poor candidate for the procedure.

To be a good candidate, you also must be in good health. If you are have medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, HIV, or AIDS, you wouldn't be a good candidate.

Additional Resources

This is just an overview of what makes for a good laser eye surgery candidate. For more information, there are other great resources online to help you determine if laser eye surgery is right for you. Some recommended resources include:

  1. All About Vision: All About Vision is an online resource which describes the nine criteria for a good laser surgery candidate. The website also contains information regarding all eye diseases, conditions, and treatments.
  2. WebMD: WebMD contains information on all aspects of laser eye surgery including who is a good candidate, how to prepare for surgery, what to expect after surgery, and potential complications. The site also contains information on various diseases, conditions, and injuries.
  3. The Mayo Clinic: The Mayo Clinic contains a great deal of information on laser eye surgery. Is an academic medical website which contains information regarding medical conditions, diseases, risk factors, and treatments. In this case, it provides more informaton on laser eye surgery. 

Questions to Consider