Is LASIK Right for Me?

This is the big question. LASIK is not right for everyone, and conscientious surgeons reject between 8-20% of applicants for medical reasons relating to the characteristics of the eye, the health of the eye and overall physical health.

A thorough and comprehensive LASIK Consultation and Exam is the ONLY way to satisfactorily answer this question. The surgeon cannot guess at this and neither can you.

Thickness of the cornea, size of pupil, freedom from some forms of diabetes, and age all determine if someone would achieve their expectations with LASIK.

  • Corneal Thickness – Before the underlying corneal tissue can be treated with the laser, the outer protective flap must first be formed and lifted. The thickness of the cornea and the related amount of tissue can vary from person to person – a thin cornea can mean not enough for the purposes of correction.
  • Pupil Size – Pupil size also varies from person to person. Since the laser treats a very exact zone on the cornea, if this zone is too narrow or the pupil too large the benefits of LASIK can be diminished. The most modern technological advancements have meant expanded treatment zones compared to earlier lasers, and depending on the type of laser the surgeon uses, large pupils may not be a disqualification for LASIK.
  • General Eye Health – LASIK corrects the corneal irregularities that cause farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism, but there can be other eye issues affecting your vision that LASIK cannot solve. Significant presbyopia or the need for reading glasses due to aging of the eye’s lens, cataracts, and other eye conditions may mean other vision correction technology will be more successful.
  • General Physical Health – Some forms of diabetes can rule out LASIK – but this should be verified by a thorough exam.
  • Pregnancy – For some women pregnancy can cause temporary changes in their eyes. For that reason, LASIK is not usually performed during pregnancy to ensure the person’s real prescription is being treated and not a temporary change. New mothers can have LASIK as soon as 6 weeks post-partum and there is no need to wait until after nursing is completed.
  • Age – 18 years and above is the standard rule for when to first consider LASIK. Before 18 the eye is still changing. Although there is no upper age limit – and LASIK can be combined with other vision correction technology such as lens implants – by the time a person turns 60 or 70, vision is being most affected by presbyopia and cataracts. LASIK is sometimes called a ‘young person’s procedure’, meaning that by having LASIK in your 20’s and 30’s you are assured of decades of excellent vision.

You can learn if you’re in the ball-park as a candidate for LASIK by taking our Free Self-Evaluation but the bottom line on candidacy depends on having a thorough LASIK Consultation.

What if LASIK is NOT right for you?

This would have to be due to corneal structure, a vision health factor, or overall health. Don’t be too disheartened because there are alternatives to LASIK such as:

  • PRK, LASEK and Epi-LASIK – treats the cornea without the need for a flap
  • CK (Conductive Keratoplasty) – corrects farsightedness and astigmatism using radiofrequency waves
  • IOLs (Intraocular Lens Implants) – for nearsightedness that is too severe for LASIK or PRK

The center may provide these and the doctor may recommend one of them.