Is Being Overweight a Problem for LASIK?

Is Being Overweight a Problem for LASIK?If you’re hoping to get LASIK surgery but are overweight you may be worried that you won’t be eligible for the procedure. While only your doctor can determine if LASIK is right for you, there are many overweight patients that have successfully undergone LASIK many with great results. Being overweight isn’t an automatic disqualification for the surgery.

What is LASIK?
LASIK eye surgery is a special type of eye surgery that can correct vision and other refractive errors. The surgery reshapes the cornea to help project a clearer image onto the retina. In many cases LASIK surgery can reduce a person’s reliance on glasses or contacts. The procedure is considered permanent although touch-ups may be needed in the future.

LASIK Disqualifications
Before undergoing surgery it is important to make sure you are a good candidate for the procedure. LASIK does have many conditions or factors that may make a person unqualified. Obesity is not on the list.

Some reasons you may not want to receive LASIK include:

  • Unstable Vision- In order for LASIK to be effective a person should have stable vision. This means that their prescription should not have changed in the last year.
  • Thin Corneas- Since LASIK reshapes the cornea those with thin corneas shouldn’t undergo the procedure.
  • Medical Conditions- Some medical conditions, like an autoimmune disorder, that slow healing can make LASIK a risky choice. Talk with your doctor about any medical conditions that you have, including being overweight or obese. Diabetes can slow healing in some patients.
  • Eye Conditions- Any eye conditions besides a refractive error should be carefully discussed with your eye doctor. Some conditions may make LASIK impossible or unadvisable.
  • Dry Eyes- Dry eyes can make a person a poor candidate for LASIK surgery.

These are just a few of the conditions that may make LASIK inadvisable. Talk with your doctor about any conditions you may have.

Your Weight and Your Eyes
While being overweight isn’t necessarily a condition that will exclude a person from LASIK, it is important to remember that excess body fat can have an impact on vision. Obesity has been linked to many conditions that cause blindness and vision loss. These conditions include an increased risk of cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma.

Another potential vision complication associated with being overweight is diabetes. Diabetes is a serious health condition that can cause eye problems along with other health problems. One common complication of diabetes is an eye condition known as diabetic retinopathy. This condition occurs when diabetes damages the delicate blood vessels in the retina. It can lead to permanent vision loss and is often seen in patients with uncontrolled diabetes.

While these conditions can be found in anyone, healthy weight, underweight or overweight, they are more common in overweight and obese individuals. Losing weight could result in vision benefits in addition the health benefits.

Diabetes and LASIK
Many people that struggle with obesity also struggle with diabetes. This can lead to a new set of concerns when considering LASIK surgery. Can diabetic patients get LASIK surgery? The answer is not so simple. It depends! If the patient has central diabetic retinopathy, then he is not a good candidate for LASIK because laser eye surgery will not improve vision that is already reduced due to diabetic retinopathy. Patients with diabetes also heal more slowly, so the cornea may take longer to heal leading to variable LASIK outcomes. Also, uncontrolled blood sugar can cause fluctuating vision. The surgeon cannot get an accurate reading of your prescription if your vision is fluctuating. If this happens, the laser treatment will be inaccurate. If you are a diabetic and your blood sugar levels are controlled well and do not have diabetic retinopathy, then you could be a likely candidate for LASIK surgery.

Is LASIK Right for You?
If you are overweight, have diabetes or any other health conditions, you may still be able to get LASIK surgery. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits. Be sure to discuss any health problems you may have and find out how your conditions may impact the procedure. Careful research is essential before any procedure whether you are overweight or not.

Are you overweight and considering LASIK surgery? What are your concerns?


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