Vision Surgery: Are You A Good Candiate

If you’re considering vision surgery do you know if you’re a good candidate for Lasik? If you didn’t qualify in the past, then it’s time to take another look at this procedure.

It might even be worth while to get another evaluation. Laser eye surgery and technology are changing all the time. Recent FDA approvals include new procedures and equipment that were in clinical trials just a short time ago.

Some previously “off-label uses” of Lasik and laser equipment have been approved for use as variations of the original procedure. FDA approved procedures and equipment offer new ways to correct refractive errors as recently as 2009.

How Can You Know if You are a Candidate?

If you’ve had previous vision surgery your eye surgeon will have to re-examine your eyes and review your health. Both may have changed since your last exam. He needs current information to determine which procedure would be the best treatment for you.

Things to Know About Vision Surgery

Before he can recommend any vision surgery your eye surgeon needs to know certain facts about you. He needs to know about your eyes, general health, and personal preferences.

Take a look at the lists below. They should give you an idea if this is the right treatment for you. If not, you should look into another solution.

The FDA offers a list of criteria to consider that indicate that refractive surgery, in general, is NOT for you. If anything in this list applies to you, or you think it might in the future, then ask your eye surgeon about non-surgical options, instead.

From the *FDA website on Lasik come these disqualifiers:

  • You don’t like risks. Every surgery has risks.
  • If your employer, including the military prohibits refractive procedures, surgery could risk your career. Know their policies before having surgery.
  • Cost of refractive surgery is still high and not covered by most insurance policies.
  • Lens prescription changes within one year indicate refractive instability.
  • Patients who are:

  • in their early 20s or younger
  • whose hormones are fluctuating due to disease such as diabetes
  • who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or
  • who are taking medications that may cause fluctuations in vision, are more likely to have refractive instability
  • actively participating in activities in which there are risk for blows to the face and eyes such as contact sports. Severe blows can dislodge the flap created in this procedure.
  • under the age of 18.
  • LASIK Eligibility Facts About Your Eyes or General Health

    You cannot have any eye disease, autoimmune disorders or abnormality that can interfere with healing. Examples include:

  • conjunctivitis, Herpes simplex of the eye, blepharitis or other contagious disease. These can increase the risk of infection.
  • glaucoma
  • cataracts
  • ocular hypertension
  • diabetic retinopathy
  • irregularly shaped cornea (keratoconus) outside of a treatable range
  • dry eye (you produce tears normally)
  • corneal scarring
  • a naturally elevated higher order aberration
  • lazy eye
  • You have no disease or condition that can interfere with healing. Examples include:

  • diabetes, especially uncontrolled
  • lupus or rheumatoid arthritis (autoimmune diseases)
  • HIV (immunodeficiency states)
  • pregnant or nursing (lactating) women’s hormones fluctuate and can change visual acuity. Wait until you have finished nursing and your hormone production is stable.
  • high blood pressure
  • Your refractive error must be within a range that has proven correctible to 20/40 or better with LASIK.
  • You aren’t taking medications that can interfere with healing. Examples include:

  • steroids
  • retinoic acid
  • Your corneas must be thick enough to sculpt safely. If not, other procedures are probably indicated.
  • You are between the ages of 18 and 40, preferably over 21.
  • Your lens prescription must be stable for at least one year, preferably for two or more years.
  • You have a normal size pupil. Large pupils can cause halos, star bursts and double vision after refractive surgery sufficient to make driving at night, in fog or other weather conditions impossible.
  • If none of the above conditions apply to you and you are still considering vision surgery then consider these personal preferences before making your decision.

  • You are unable to cope with even a small amount of discomfort.
  • You need a fast recovery for job or personal reasons.
  • You want clear vision without glasses or contact lenses.
  • Your job requires clear vision without glasses or contact lenses.
  • You can and will keep your post-op scheduled appointments.
  • If any of the above leaves you unsure, consider some of the alternatives. Whether or not you are a good candidate for Lasik, you might find that one of the other options are worth considering.

    These techniques were developed as improvements or variations that address some of the restrictions above. Take a look at:

  • Lasek
  • PRK
  • Epi-LASIk
  • Wavefront LASIK
  • PresbyLASIK
  • IntraLase
  • Monovision Lasik
  • Implantable lenses
  • Corneal inlays and onlays
  • Make sure you choose a qualified eye surgeon, one whose credentials, experience and success rate justifies trusting your eyes to him.

    * U.S.Food and Drug Administration (FDA) http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/SurgeryandLifeSupport/LASIK/ucm061366.htm



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