LASIK can be a great solution for individuals that want clear vision without glasses or contact lenses, but it is not an ideal or even safe choice for everyone. If you have certain risk factors, not only will you likely not experience the positive results of LASIK but you could even experience unwanted complications.
If you are considering LASIK, keep in mind the following risk factors that typically disqualify a patient from candidacy:
- Under 18 years old: Children’s eyes are constantly changing and it is only once a child reaches the age of 18, that we can be sure that their vision has stabilized. Patients should experience at least a year of stable vision before scheduling LASIK otherwise they are risking the chance of having to repeat the surgery.
- Pregnant or Nursing Women: Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause changes to your eyes and vision and could take up to a year or so to return to normal. Additionally, some of the medications used during or after LASIK could be harmful to a baby that is in utero or nursing. If you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or nursing, speak to your eye doctor about it and when you can consider LASIK.
- Very High Prescription: Patients with a particularly high myopia or hyperopia may require too much tissue removal to properly fix the vision, increasing the risk of the procedure. In such cases, your doctor may recommend an alternate procedure such as PRK.
- Eye Problems or Diseases: If your eyes are not healthy, you can increase your risks of complications and inhibit the process of healing that takes place following the surgery. For chronic issues such as dry eyes, cataracts, glaucoma or other serious problems you may be disqualified from LASIK or any other surgical procedure. Other conditions such as an eye infection or injury may simply require you to wait until your eye is completely healed.
- Irregular Eye Anatomy (Such as Large Pupil Size or Thin Corneas): Patients with exceptionally large pupils may be disqualified from LASIK due to a higher incidence of negative side effects such as poor night vision, halos, double vision or glare. For LASIK to be successful, the cornea needs to be a certain minimum thickness. For those with thin corneas, an alternate treatment may be recommended.
- Systemic and Autoimmune Medical Conditions: Certain systemic diseases and medical conditions such as diabetes, HIV, immunodeficiency or rheumatoid arthritis that can affect your body’s ability to heal properly can disqualify a patient from LASIK. Certain medications can also disqualify you from being a candidate.
- Prior Eye Injury: Certain eye injuries, especially those that result in corneal scarring can pose as a risk for successful LASIK surgery.
Eye doctors and surgeons may have differing opinions as to which conditions and circumstances will disqualify you from LASIK candidacy. Your eye doctor and/or surgeon will complete a thorough exam to assess the risks and potential outcome to determine if LASIK is right for you.