Is Lasik Right For You?

LASIK (that's short for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) is not right for everyone. But, because it is so popular, more consumers than ever are interested in finding out whether LASIK is right for them.

Why so popular? There are many advantages to LASIK. It takes very little time for example. It is a complex procedure, and does have the potential for serious complications (rare), but also holds the potential for 20/20 vision.

LASIK, while extraordinary, will not meet the needs of very consumer. So how do you decide if LASK is right for you?

Your Doctor And LASIK
Your eye doctor can help you decide if you are a good, ideal or poor candidate for LASIK surgery. Most people are either good candidates or ideal candidates. There are however, candidates that are less ideal than others.

The best candidates are candidates most likely to enjoy the benefits of surgery without any serious complications. Less than optimal candidates may have more risk for experiencing severe complications.

Those who are not suited for LASIK probably have a pre-existing condition or illness that would prevent them from enjoying any benefits LASIK may offer.

Risk Factors For LASIK
The best way to avoid complications or problems with LASIK is to undergo comprehensive screening by a competent surgeon. There are some risk factors the population at large has that can impact their candidacy for LASIK surgery. Some of the tests surgeons may perform to assess your candidacy may include measurements of the curvature of your cornea and surface scans to detect aberrations or vision problems. Your doctor will also take a comprehensive medical history.

Risk factors that may prevent you from enjoying the full benefits of LASIK include:

  • Having poor vision. While LASIK does improve vision, some people's vision is simply too far-gone for them to realize significant improvement. As with anything, there are limits to what LASIK can do for people. Typically procedures are limited to individuals with no more than -14 diopters if they have myopia, to people with no more than 4-6 diopters of astigmatism and those with no more than +6.0 diopters hyperopia.

  • Changing prescription. Many people's prescription changes with time. Typically a person's eye prescription will remain stable after about 18-20 years of age however. If your prescription continues to change after this annually, your eye doctor may hesitate to consider you for LASIK. Typically candidates ideal for LASIK are those whose prescription has remained stable for a minimum of two years.

  • Overall medical and eye health. If your eye health is not good, you may not be a good candidate for LASIK. Some conditions that may predispose you to complications may include problems with the conjunctiva or cornea. Eye diseases including glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy will also affect your eligibility for LASIK. Systemic diseases including those affecting the immune system may also reduce your risk for a positive outcome, so be sure to discuss your full medical history with your doctor prior to LASIK consideration.

Other risk factors include having a cornea that is too thin, preventing an opportunity for the surgeon to create a good flap. In patients with thin corneas LASIK may actually result in worsening vision. Still other patients have an irregularly shaped cornea, called keratoconus, which typically rules out the possibility of LASIK surgery.

Less serious risk factors include having large pupils. While this may not rule out the possibility of LASIK, it may limit the types of LASIK a patient qualifies for. Custom LASIK may be a better choice for patients with large pupils. The key to achieving a good result is consulting with a competent physician, someone who can decide your eligibility and help you make an informed, educated choice about surgery.

Learn more about whether LASIK eye surgery is right for you on our forums!