Am I A Candidate For LASIK?
Is LASIK Right For Your Eyes?
You can’t guess at this, and neither can Dr. Wilson. In fact, he insists on the most comprehensive eye examination in Oklahoma City before he’ll approve you for LASIK at ClearSight.
Some folks spend years researching the procedure only to find that they were never a candidate in the first place. That can be a major disappointment, and the only way to avoid it is by having a full and comprehensive LASIK Exam.
There are several factors that could mean LASIK isn’t right for you. Here are the main ones:
Thickness of your cornea and overall health of your eyes
Corneal Thickness is a major factor. LASIK surgery requires enough thickness of the cornea to maintain strength and shape. If your cornea is too thin, it may result in complications. This was a significant factor in the older microkeratome method and why some people were not considered good candidates. However, advances in technology have made LASIK possible for many of these patients. The only way to measure the thickness of the cornea is during a thorough eye examination.
Keratoconus is a disease of the cornea, and if you have it then LASIK is not right for you. People are sometimes told they have Keratoconus when they have something else that would not be a problem for LASIK. That’s why we always double check any previous diagnosis.
Cataracts are a clouding or opacity of the natural lens inside the eye. They don’t necessarily keep you from having LASIK; it just depends on their type and location. Again, we always check for cataracts at our free exam.
Some physical illnesses or conditions can rule out LASIK:
Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, or Fibromyalgia (FMS) can indicate a compromised auto immune system, which might complicate the healing process. Osteoarthritis or age-related arthritis is not a problem as far as LASIK is concerned. If you have any questions about which type of arthritis you have, give us a call and we will help you sort it out.
Diabetes can rule out LASIK as an unstable blood sugar level affects the precise measurements necessary for the procedure. Also, diabetes can cause diabetic retinopathy that may compromise vision due to changes in the retina. This too may be a contraindication to LASIK. We’ll help you establish whether or not diabetes is an issue at the consultation.
Pregnancy for some women can cause temporary changes in their eyes. For that reason, we do not perform LASIK during pregnancy as we want to make sure we are treating the person’s real prescription and not a temporary change. We can treat new mothers as soon as 6 weeks postpartum, and there is no need to wait until after nursing is completed.
Some medications cause an unacceptably high risk of complications:
Amiodarone, a medication used to control irregular heart rhythms
Methotrexate used for RA can interfere with healing
However, before you decide you are not a candidate due to any of the above, call us first and let us help you verify the facts.
A good LASIK candidate is generally between the ages of 18 and 60. Many people under the age of 18 have not finished growing, so their vision may not have stabilized. Folks over age 60 are more likely to have other eye problems such as cataracts or presbyopia, and the treatments for those problems can often achieve many of the same results as LASIK.
How LASIK and Lifestyle Interact
LASIK surgery can greatly enhance your life; however, some lifestyle factors need to be taken into account particularly after the procedure. If you regularly participate in any of these activities, or if you wish to but can’t because of your eyesight or lenses, let us know so we can help you determine if LASIK is right in terms of your lifestyle.
- Sunlight and tanning booths You should always wear UV protection sunglasses at any time, but after LASIK it is critical that you protect your eyes from UV rays for at least six weeks to several months.
- Swimming and water sports One of the benefits of LASIK is the freedom to go swimming and enjoy scuba-diving and water-skiing, but you will need to avoid all water sports for at least a week after LASIK to help prevent infection.
- Skiing, mountain climbing, and other high altitude activities A common high-altitude problem is dry eye. As dry eye can be a temporary complication after LASIK, this factor needs to be taken into consideration.
- Contact sports You absolutely must cease all contact sports for at least one month after LASIK surgery. A blow to your eyes before healing is complete can cause flap complications.